As you age, your likelihood of developing skin cancer increases. This is due to your lifetime sun exposure. Skin cancer is the most common cancer among Americans, but seniors in particular can take some precautions to reduce their risk of developing the disease. Here are some tips:
Spend time in the shade
The Centers for Disease Control recommends that seniors stay in the shade during midday hours. This time is when the sun is the closest to the Earth and ultraviolet rays can penetrate the atmospheric layers and cause skin damage. This doesn't mean you can't go outside, though! Find a park bench to hang out on that is located under a tree or other source of shade. The temperature will be lower here, which makes it more comfortable as well as safer for your skin! Enjoy a hydrating beverage while in the shade to avoid heat stroke and stay healthy.
Slather on the sunscreen
It's not just impossible to stay inside every time it's sunny, it's also no fun! Instead of avoiding UV rays, embrace them while you protect yourself at the same time. Wear sunscreen that offers 30 sun protection factor protection at least. Always reapply another layer after an hour or two if you are sweating quite a bit or if you take a dip in a pool or other body of water. Look for waterproof SPF if you plan on spending the day in the water.
Don a hat
It's incredibly important to protect your eyes from the sun as well as your skin. Looking directly into the sun isn't the only dangerous way the planet's rays can affect you.
"Protect your eyes and skin from the sun."
Glare can cause headaches and you can even sunburn your eyes. Wearing a hat can save your face from getting sunburned and protect your eyes. Also, add some sunglasses to provide the benefits of shade. If you wear a baseball hat, make sure to put sunscreen on your ears and neck!
Cloudy doesn't mean safe
Plenty of people don't realize that, even if it's cloudy, the sun still comes through. You need sunscreen or other protection even if the sun isn't shining through the clouds. Consider keeping a hat, sunscreen and long sleeves in your car or ready in the closet of your independent living community so you can grab them and go on outdoor adventures.
Visit the doctor if you have skin concerns
Many older individuals experience skin abnormalities as they age. It's important to make regular appointments with your doctor or dermatologist so you can bring up any new skin spots or moles. Many of these marks are not cancerous, but it's very important to stay on top of them as it's possible they may develop into serious issues. Make note of anything about your skin that changes, like a new discoloration or bump. If you have a family history of skin cancer it's especially necessary to keep an eye on your skin and make sure to protect it while outside.