Senior woman wearing sunglasses eats an ice cream cone on the beach

Summer Sun Safety

Getting outside is beneficial for our mental health, but as we get older, our skin needs to be protected even more than when we were younger. The sun can be very damaging to your skin if you’re not careful and can lead to painful sunburn or skin cancer later on. However, there are simple steps you can take to prevent this damage. 

  • Stay in the shade. Staying in a shady area like under a tree or umbrella while outside, especially during 10 am to 4 pm (the hottest part of the day) can help you avoid the strongest rays of the sun. 
  • Wear sunscreen. Anytime you’re going to be outside, even for a short time period, put on some sunscreen. The sunscreen needs to be water-resistant and broad-spectrum that protects against both UVA (ultraviolet short-ray) and UVB (ultraviolet long-wave) rays. Aim for one that is SPF 30 or higher. 
  • Moisturize often. Elderly skin is prone to dryness and hot temperatures and sun damage can dry skin out even more. A good moisturizer can help and create a moisture barrier. 
  • Dress appropriately. Wearing long sleeves, long pants, and a hat is a great way to protect yourself from the sun. Loose clothing that is woven tightly will offer the best coverage. Some clothing is even made with UV protection for extra safety. 
  • Know medication side effects. The side effects of some medications can make you more sensitive to the sun and more likely to have serious damage like sunburn, blisters, swelling, and/or rashes. It’s a good idea to talk to your doctor or pharmacist about your medications and their side effects before spending a long period of time in the sun.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids like salmon, tuna, and mackerel can help with your skin’s firmness. Fruits and veggies are also a great choice, as they have lots of antioxidants that help your skin look younger and healthier. Drinking plenty of water and avoiding dehydration is another great way to help your skin, while also avoiding heat exhaustion and heat stroke. 
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