Spring is the time to start getting back outdoors. It is the time to plant gardens, to go on walks, to go to the park, and to just get outside and enjoy the warm sunshine.
Unfortunately, though, the same sun that we have been missing all winter can cause some serious skin problems, especially in seniors. Too much sun can cause sunburn, skin damage, and even put us at a higher risk for skin cancer. This is something that most people ignore, though, as they get ready to hit the park, and this can lead to dangerous consequences.
As a caregiver for an aging loved one, it can be difficult to make them realize how important skincare is for the elderly. It will help to know, however, that simply using sunscreen or sunblock can greatly reduce the occurrence of sunburn or other skin problems caused by sun exposure. So don’t skimp on it!
Here are some questions that might come up when you decide to start sticking to a sunscreen regimen, along with some answers that will really make you think!
Which sunscreen is right for my senior?
Any sunscreen is helpful, to be honest. Even just a little bit of protection is better than none at all, so you don’t have to go out and buy the fanciest, most expensive brand on the market. However, if you want to get the best type of sunscreen, aim for sunscreen or lotions with 50 SPF. Brands like Coppertone’s Water Babies is especially good, because it is gentle on the skin.
However, be sure to check the ingredients before you buy: some sunscreens contain harmful chemicals like oxybenzone, which can cause hormonal problems, and retinyl palmitate, which actually causes skin damage instead of preventing it.
When should we apply sunscreen?
Any time the senior will be outside for an extended period of time, it is best to put on a layer of sunscreen. Even on cloudy days, UV rays can come through the clouds and cause skin damage, so it is better to be safe than sorry! Apply the sunscreen before heading out the door, and reapply often. Which leads us to the next question…
How often should we reapply?
The answer to this is: it depends. The general rule of thumb is to reapply sunscreen every two hours. If your senior is sweating a lot, though, or going in the water at a pool or a beach, reapplying every hour is a better bet. This isn’t the only time you can reapply sunscreen though: if your senior’s skin is starting to burn or itch or turn pink, you can reapply right then and there, no matter how much time has passed. This will not only prevent further damage, but it may help soothe the redness and itching that is already bothering them.
As you can see, sunscreen is a simple, easy way to prevent a lot of problems down the road. And this doesn’t just apply to seniors – it applies to family caregivers and the rest of your loved ones as well! It only takes a few minutes to put on sunscreen, and that few minutes could save your skin, and your life.
If you or an aging family member are considering hiring a professional caregiver in Atlanta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Caring Companions of Atlanta 470-514-5954 .
We provide quality non-medical services to our clients in their homes or in a facility if that’s where they live. Our staff is available for care plans for extensive care 24 hours a day, 7 days a week or as little as 4 hours per visit. Reach out to us, and one of our outstanding administrative staff will meet with potential clients to assist them and their families in designing an effective, personal plan of care.