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Golden Years, Golden Rules: Sun Safety Tips for Older Adults

by Jessica Hegg June 28, 2024 0 Comments

There’s no better way to enjoy warm weather than to get outdoors and bask in the sun. Of course, all good things are best enjoyed in moderation, and that’s especially true of sun exposure. While a bit can be good for your physical and mental health, too much can cause serious health problems. Fortunately, plenty of ways to enjoy the sun while staying protected exist. Check out our list of sun safety tips for seniors.

The Dangers of Sun Exposure

If you’re not convinced of the dangers that come with prolonged sun exposure, you might want to start by doing your homework. Learn more about the top risks that come with too much sun.

Skin Cancer

In the United States alone, more than five million people are treated for skin cancer each year. Of those cases, the majority are found in adults older than 65 years of age. Skin cancer can range in severity, and while most cases are treatable, many are not.

Find a variety of ways to keep your skin looking young and healthy with our selection of skincare  products.

Premature Aging

There are a range of skin disorders caused by lifelong overexposure to UV rays. Collectively, these are referred to as premature aging, as they can cause skin to become wrinkled and leathery. The face, neck, arms, and hands are particularly susceptible as they receive the most direct sunlight.

Cataracts

Don’t forget that your skin isn’t the only part of your body that can suffer from sun exposure. UV radiation can also lead to the formation of cataracts, which are a form of eye damage that clouds vision and can even lead to blindness. While cataracts can be treated surgically, they can come with serious complications.

Immune Suppression

You might be surprised to learn that the inside of your body can be harmed by sun exposure as well. Long-term overexposure to UV radiation has been linked with a weakened immune system, making you more susceptible to diseases. It makes sense since the skin is one of the body’s main defenses against foreign invaders.

Sun Protection Tips for Older Adults

If you’re the type of person who loves to get out and enjoy fresh air and sunshine, make sure to be prepared. A bit of forethought can go a long way when it comes to staying protected from the sun.

  • Watch the Clock

    This tip is true in more ways than one. First, remember that the sun shines most directly between 10 am and 4 pm. That means it may be better to schedule outdoor activities in the morning or evening, when possible. The shade will be more plentiful during these times too, making it easier to stay protected.

    Second, avoid spending long periods outdoors, especially when in direct sunlight. An hour in the sun is perfectly fine, but longer periods can lead to long-term problems if you’re not protected. Prolonged periods in the sun can also put you at risk for other hot weather dangers, like heatstroke.

  • Get to Know Your Bottle of Sunscreen

    When shopping for sunscreen, make sure to choose a bottle that’s labeled SPF 15 or higher. It should also be marked with the words “Blocks UVA and UVB” somewhere on the label. It should also be waterproof if you’re planning on wearing it to the beach, or during exercise. 

    Once you’ve chosen the right kind, take some time to ensure you’re applying it correctly. Cover your face, shoulders, neck, arms, and anywhere else that will be exposed to the sun for long periods. Apply a minimum of 20 minutes before heading outside, and reapply every two hours to ensure coverage.

    If you need a bit of extra help applying your sunscreen, a lotion applicator might be just what you’re looking for.

  • Dress Smart

    Ideally, covering as much skin as possible is the best way to protect yourself from the sun. However, this might not always be possible in hot weather. Luckily, the right accessories can be the next best thing.

    Try wearing a wide-brimmed hat along with your favorite summer wear. It will keep the sun off your face, neck, and shoulders without causing you to overheat. You can also try dressing in layers, with lighter jackets or wraps that you can put on or take off when needed. Finally, try carrying an umbrella on sunny days, for a bit of mobile shade you can take it anywhere.

    A neck gaiter is another option you might not have considered. It’s comfortable, easy to slip on and off, and specially designed to block UV rays.

  • Eye Protection

    When looking for ways to stay protected from the sun, we sometimes forget that our skin isn’t all we have to worry about. On the brightest days, sunlight can cause long-term damage to our eyes as well, causing cataracts and vision impairment. That’s why it’s always a good idea to carry a pair of sunglasses to ensure your eyes are covered.

Make the Most of Sunny Weather

The key to year-round sun protection is to stay mindful. While none of the above tips are difficult, it’s not always easy to plan and make extra time for sun protection. However, once you get into the habit, dressing smart, staying protected, and planning ahead will become second nature, letting you enjoy all of sunlight’s benefits, without the drawbacks.

Jessica Hegg
Jessica Hegg

Jessica Hegg is the content manager and at ViveHealth.com. With vast product knowledge and understanding of individual needs, she aims to share valuable information on making smart buying choices, overcoming obstacles and overall improving the quality of life for others. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle.



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