8 Ways for Seniors to Protect Their Skin While Enjoying the Summer
The summer is meant to be enjoyed in all its splendor, with long, gorgeous days of beautiful and sunny weather. However, we don’t have the ozone layer protecting us from the sun as much as we used to, and the sun’s power can do more damage than ever before. In particular, seniors’ skin is more vulnerable than that of an adult’s, and they need to especially safeguard themselves against sun damage. It’s not that difficult to do, and we give you eight of the easiest ways to stay safe this summer without sacrificing an ounce of fun.
1. Drink Plenty of Water
Having well-hydrated skin is one of the easiest and quickest ways to create a strong barrier against the sun’s power. It’s not the whole measure by a long shot, but keeping your skin in good condition gives it a fighting chance at protecting itself. Plus, if there is any sun damage that’s been sustained, then having a healthy dose of water in the body can go a long way towards flushing out any toxins that can lead to skin problems. How much each senior should drink depends on them, but a good rule of thumb is enough so your skin is clear, soft and supple.
2. Balance Your Diet with Nutrition
Water may be one of the most important things you can fill your body with, as humans can only last a few days without it. But following close behind is a nutritious and balanced diet because food provides many more nutrients that water does. Stock up on foods that can give you an extra boost in dealing with the sun, like dark leafy greens, colorful fruits and vegetables, and protein-rich foods (salmon, avocado, nuts, etc.), and try to avoid foods that are high in fats and sugars. We do need fat and sugar in our diet, but not as much as the media advertises.
3. Slap on Some Sunscreen
You’ve been taking care of your body from the inside, but it helps a whole lot to care for it from the outside, too. Get sunscreen with a high SPF on it — you should be looking at 30 and higher — and put it on 20 minutes before you head outside. For areas that are more sensitive to the sun, like noses and ears, go for sunscreen with a higher SPF. And if you have water splashed on you, reapply sunscreen right away to keep the protection going.
4. Don’t Drink in the Sun
We’re not advising seniors to give up their wine or beer entirely, but just to be careful about it in the hotter months of summer. To put it very roughly and on the most average of terms, one standard drink of alcohol takes about an hour to metabolize (the time will differ based on a variety of factors), but the effects are felt much more strongly when consumed in the sun. One of the consequences of drinking alcohol is it lowers your inhibitions and sense of control, so you may be exposing yourself to sun damage unnecessarily and not even realizing it.
5. Wear Light-Colored Clothing
The way light works isn’t overly complicated: when a light beam hits something dark, it gets absorbed into it, giving that dark surface most of the energy it was carrying with it. But when it strikes a light surface, there’s not much absorption that has to be done, so most of the light beam bounces back and takes most of its energy (and heat) with it. Clothing works the same way, so donning something that’s white, tan, or otherwise light in color helps prevent the sun and its heat from being absorbed into clothing.
6. Stay in the Shade
This may seem like a bit of a self-evident fact, but there is less sun and heat in the shade than there is in the open areas. Finding shade doesn’t always mean spending your summer hunting around for trees to sit under, though, as sometimes all you have to do is keep a parasol on hand or move your chair a couple of feet so you’re underneath an aluminium awning. There are few spots where you’ll have no other choice but to be in direct, unfiltered sunlight, so keep a watchful eye on anything that can cast a bit of shade on you.
7. Wear a Hat and Sunglasses
Your noggin is a sensitive area and can get damaged by sun easily, as can your eyes. But putting on a stylish hat and full-cover sunglasses is a two-second way to minimize your chances of getting burned by the sun in more than one way. As well, not wearing sunglasses causes you to squint a lot in the bright sunlight, which creates tons of wrinkles around the corners of your eyes, so make sure you always have eyewear on hand.
8. Invest in a Good Skin Cream
As seniors age, their skin loses the ability to heal itself as rapidly as when they were younger, which means sun damage takes longer to bounce back from. And because one of the things the sun does when it hits the skin is dry it out, having a tube of quality skin cream on hand can go a long way to alleviating dry and itchy skin. It’s not going to solve the whole problem — minimizing the sun’s effects and hydrating yourself from the inside are better — but it will help rejuvenate your skin if it needs a quick touch up.