Skin Cancer Prevention and Awareness for Seniors

Skin Cancer Prevention and Awareness for Seniors
Seniors often skip wearing sunscreen because they aren’t aware just how dangerous the sun can be on older, often more fragile skin. From blistering sunburns that increase the risk for skin cancer to sun poisoning, it’s important to learn how to protect and care for your skin.

In honor of Skin Cancer Awareness Month, we share four skin safety tips.

4 Ways to Protect Your Skin This Summer

  1. Wear sunscreen and reapply it often: While this step is one of the best ways to protect your skin, people often fail to comply. If they do use sunscreen, it is only a single application before heading outside. Experts say you should apply a shot glass amount of sunscreen every 2 to 4 hours. When you are swimming or sweating, you’ll need to reapply it more often. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. 
  2. Cover up before heading out: A hat, sunglasses, and a long-sleeved shirt can also help protect you from the worst of the sun’s rays. Make sure the hat has a brim wide enough to shield your face. You might also want to explore clothing that has sun protection built in
  3. Stay indoors during the middle of the day: The sun’s rays are usually hottest during the middle of the day. Most experts say that 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. are when UVA and UVB rays typically peak. If you can, try to arrange your schedule to be out of the sun during those times. Run errands and complete yard work in the early morning or late evening hours. If you must be outdoors during peak sun times, find a shady spot to sit in.
  4. Check your medication cabinet: Many people aren’t aware that some medications make you more sensitive to the sun. That means your skin might burn in much less time than usual. Check all medications you are taking, including over-the-counter ones, to see if sun sensitivity is a side effect. If you have any doubts, talk with your physician or pharmacist.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, more than 3.3 million people were treated for nonmelanoma skin cancer in 2012. Researchers say that number is expected to climb. Taking a few minutes each day to protect yourself can help you avoid becoming a skin cancer statistic.

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