The Importance of Protecting Your Skin for Seniors

The Importance of Protecting Your Skin for Seniors

As we enter the last few weeks of summer, it’s a good time for seniors who live at home to think about how to protect their skin from the sun. UV Safety Awareness Month has come and gone, but the lessons are the same no matter what month it is. And for seniors in home care, it’s always a good idea to think about sun protection. After all, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer, and is more common in those over 60 who have a greater risk of long-term sun damage.

The Sun is Not Your Friend

Sure, the sun sustains all life on our planet by providing heat and light, and going to the beach just wouldn’t be the same if there were no sun, but that doesn’t mean it’s not dangerous also. Sunlight contains ultraviolet (UV) rays. These UV rays come in three types, but only UVA and UVB rays ever reach us. Exposure to UV rays is inevitable; after all, you can’t completely cover yourself any time you’re outside in the daytime, and a healthy amount of exposure to UV rays can ensure we have the right amount of Vitamin D in our blood. But the effects of UV rays take a turn for the worse the longer the exposure.

How to Protect Your Skin – UV Safety Awareness

Staying inside all day is no fun, especially in the summer. But unfortunately, thinking about the harmful effects of UV rays is now a year-round job for seniors. Here are a few reminders about how you can effectively stay safe in the sun.

Sunglasses Don’t Just Make You Look Cool – Protect Your Eyes.

Most sunglasses have UV protection built in, so that’s a great way to protect your eyes. But it’s also a scientific fact that sunglasses make you more attractive, so if that doesn’t get you to wear them, we don’t know what will.

Keep the Sun in its Place – Away from Your Skin.

Wearing a hat keeps UV rays off your head and neck, and a wide-brimmed hat will not only make you look like you’re a wealthy socialite who solves mysteries, it will keep UV rays off your face as well. Combine with sunglasses for maximum UV protection and maximum fashion appeal.

Bad News for Nudists – Protective Clothing Can Help.

Wearing protective clothing, meaning densely woven fabrics in dark or bright colors that absorb UV rays, is a good way to protect yourself. Some outdoor-specific wear, sold in sporting goods stores, even comes rated with Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF).

Wearing Sunscreen Is No Fun. But Skin Cancer Is Way Worse.

By now you probably know that sunscreen is rated by a number called SPF, or “Sun Protection Factor.” What that number means is somewhat confusing though. Many people think the number represents the number of minutes (or hours) you can stay in the sun without getting burned, but that is decidedly not true. What is true, however, is that many dermatologists recommend sunscreen that uses a physical sunblock (like zinc oxide), especially for those at high risk or with sensitive or fair skin. But most importantly, the best sunscreen is the one that you’ll use frequently and reapply regularly. Also, many people don’t realize that sunscreen expires after about a year. So throw all those old tubes out.

You Can’t Hide From the Sun – Or Can You?

It seems obvious, but it’s worth mentioning that you can always stay in the shade. Want to go for a long walk outside? Find a shady, tree-lined street. Or take a break from the sun at the park under an awning or umbrella. Being in the shade has all the benefits of being outside, but with far fewer risks (except bear attacks…that’s still a thing in the shade). Being in the shade on a sunny day doesn’t always provide 100% protection from UV rays so it’s a good idea to wear sunscreen, even in the shade.

These tips may just seem like common sense, but they really are important to keep in mind.

Home Care Powered by AUAF Is Not Rated for UV Protection, But Can Help Other Ways

Whether it’s laundry services to make sure your UPF clothing is clean, keeping your house clean for that summer picnic, or reminding you of a dermatologist appointment, the dedicated caregivers at Home Care Powered by AUAF can help seniors this summer and all year long. Find out more by contacting us or calling (773) 274-9262.

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