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Staying Safe in the Sun: 5 Summertime Skin Care Tips for Seniors

June 21, 2016

Summertime brings a wealth of outdoor activities that seniors can enjoy, from hiking to tennis to just relaxing in the sun. But summer also heightens the importance of skin care. Here are some ways that seniors can protect their skin while still getting the most out of the summer.

Golfers in the summerTip #1: Use Sunscreen
Sunscreen is one of the most obvious measures that you can take, but it’s also one of the most important. According to the National Institute on Aging, seniors should use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or above and apply 15 to 30 minutes before you’ll be in the sun when possible. After that, you should apply fresh sunscreen every two hours. If you sweat, swim, or use a towel, you will need to reapply sunscreen a bit more often. Keep in mind that clouds don’t necessarily provide protection from the sun, as damaging UV rays still reach the ground.

Tip #2: Try a Hat on for Size
The right hat doesn’t only have to be a dashing accessory, it can also protect your ears, neck and face from the sun. For maximum protection, look for something with a broad brim that goes all the way around the hat. These hats can be found at most outdoor stores or from any retailer that sells hiking or fishing clothing. If you can’t seem to find anything that fits your style, check out the ‘Sun Hats’ section at REI.

Tip #3: Wear a Lightweight, Long-Sleeved Shirt
Though it may not seem like the best idea at first, wearing long sleeves and pants on a sunny day is much more pleasant than dealing with a sunburn or long-term skin damage. Many clothing manufacturers make long-sleeved, lightweight clothing designed to be worn comfortably in the sun to keep your skin protected and cool. As with finding a protective hat, your local outdoor retailer will likely have a few options in stock.

Tip #4: Strategically Avoid the Sun
No matter how many preventative measures you take, sometimes, it’s best just to stay out of the sun altogether. Per the American Osteopathic College of Dermatology, the sun is as its strongest between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. You should try to plan your outdoor activities accordingly.

Additionally, it's important to remember that reflective surfaces can render shade ineffective by bouncing sunlight into them from below. Water, concrete, and sand are examples of such surfaces, so be aware of them when you're picking out shady spots.

Tip #5: Be Mindful of Your Medications
Surprisingly enough, certain medications make your skin more sensitive to the sun. According to Consumer Reports, UV rays from the sun interacting with such drugs can cause two types of reactions: phototoxic reactions, which directly damage skin cells, and photoallergic reactions, which "cause your body to treat a substance as an allergen." Both typically take the form of a rash. Consult with your doctor to find out if your medication could cause either type of reaction.

Protecting your skin is vital at any age. However, it’s important to remember that our skin becomes increasingly delicate as we grow older. Making sure your skin is protected during the harsh summer months can help prevent skin care problems later on in life. With these skin care tips, and the many activities offered at the senior care centers by Concordia Lutheran Ministries, you can spend less time worrying about your skin and more time having fun this summer! Feel free to check out one of our many senior care locations or message us through our contact form today!

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