The Sun Is Not Always Your Friend

We all know it: “A tan skin is a damaged skin.” What’s worse, as we age our skin becomes thinner and doesn’t rejuvenate as easily as it once did. This makes us more susceptible to sunburn and other damage, including skin cancer. Follow these tips to help protect yourself and your loved ones.

1. Use sunscreen.

Liberally apply SPF 30+ sunscreen daily. Reapply every few hours – sooner if you’ve been sweating. Remember, even on cloudy days the sun’s most dangerous rays penetrate the atmosphere. It’s important to apply, and re-apply, sunscreen – even when the sky looks overcast.

2. Hang out in the shade.

Seek out shady areas whenever possible. If you’re going for a walk, stick to paths shaded by trees. If you’re at the beach or relaxing poolside, sit under an umbrella.

3. Cover up.

Cover up as much as possible. That means wearing long sleeves, long pants, hat and sunglasses. Stick with light-colored, lightweight fabrics like cotton or linen. Darker colors absorb the heat from the sun, increasing the risk for heatstroke.

4. Prescriptions increase sun sensitivity.

Some medications, including antibiotics, anti-depressants, anti-psychotics, and water pills, can make skin more sensitive to the sun. Check with your or your loved one’s doctor or read package inserts to determine the level of sun exposure (if any) that is safe with each medication.

5. Choose indoor activities during the warmest parts of the day.

Plan your day wisely and encourage the older adults in your life to do the same. Run errands in the early morning or late afternoon. This helps you limit the amount of time you spend outdoors between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when heat and humidity are typically at their worst. Use the time to enjoy indoor activities instead. At Five Star Senior Living communities, for instance, residents can indulge in a leisurely gourmet lunch, and then enjoy an art class, study creative writing, or take in a matinee movie.

Stay Safe All Summer

It’s important to follow these skin safety tips year-round, but especially in warmer weather when most people spend more time outside. Doing so can help prevent you and your senior loved ones from joining the 20 percent of Americans who develop skin cancer annually.



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