As we age over the years, so do the important elements of our body – and the skin is included here. Skin is known to become more fragile with age, and many seniors are at a higher risk of sun sensitivity due to a loss of collagen in the skin.
At Legacy House in Park Lane, our assisted living services include careful precautions for the skin during any periods where seniors will be in the sun. Here are some basic tips we can offer seniors and their caregivers on sunscreen use and how to stay protected.
While some seniors may have a preference for a different form of sunscreen, whether it’s a traditional cream or a stick, spray or other type, there isn’t any known difference between these. Consumer Reports has done a study, and determined that there’s no difference in effectiveness among these different types.
With that in mind, which you choose will speak to you or your loved one’s personal situation. Some seniors find it tougher to apply sunscreen in certain areas due to physical limitations, and might prefer a spray that can help them reach. Others prefer a cream that’s simpler.
Unless there are instructions that say differently, seniors should apply one ounce of sunscreen for every two hours they will be outside. This should be even more often if there’s any swimming or sweating involved, as these can cause sunscreen to drip off.
SPF is short for sun protection factor – it’s a system that shows how good sunscreen is at preventing sunburns, plus how long it will do so for. SPF 15 sunscreen, for instance, will allow you to be outdoors 15 times longer than you normally would before getting a sunburn. We’d recommend a sunscreen with an SPF rating between 30 and 50.
These are both types of UV rays that can damage the skin, though UVB rays are worse. However, UVA rays are more common. UVB rays are mostly found during the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, times when you should wear significant sunscreen and also protective garments like hats or long sleeves.