As summer quickly approaches, it is easy to get excited about the warmer weather and the summer activities. However, everyone should remember the importance of protecting their skin from the damaging effect of the sun. There is a particular emphasis on older adults taking precautions when spending time outside.
UV-A and UV-B rays
The sun emits radiation known as ultraviolet (UV) rays. There are UV-A rays and UV-B rays, both of which can damage your skin and eyes. UV-B rays have short wavelengths that reach the outer layer of your skin and UV-A rays have longer wavelengths that can penetrate the middle layer of your skin
According to the CDC, more than 5 million people are treated for skin cancer in the United States each year. The majority of those cases are found in people older than 65 years of age. As older adults are living longer, there is a need to promote life-long skin health.
Minimize your risk
Everyone can enjoy the sun safely by learning the risks associated with prolonged sun exposure and taking the proper precautions.
- When you are going to be out in the sun, make sure to cover up. Wear a hat, preferably wide-rimmed, to shield your skin from exposure. You should also wear proper clothing in the sun, including pants and long sleeve shirts.
- Stay in the shade as much as possible when outside. The sun’s glare is the most intense at midday, so if you’re going to be out between 10 am and 4 pm, try to remain in the shade to prevent skin damage.
- It is crucial to select the right sunscreen. The FDA recommends that you use a broad spectrum with an SPF of at least 15 or higher. They also suggest that you apply sunscreen liberally daily, regardless if it sunny or cloudy.
- Once you’ve found the right sunscreen, you need to apply the right amount. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, most people only use 25-50% of the recommended amount of sunscreen. To cover all the skin not covered with clothes, you’ll need about one ounce. To protect your face, ears, and neck, you’ll need about ½ teaspoon.
Efforts to improve sun safety among seniors will likely reduce skin cancer risks in later years and improve quality of life. By following this advice, you and your loved ones can safely enjoy the outdoors this summer.