Skin Protection Tips for Seniors
Skin Protection Tips for Seniors
Summer is in full swing, and with it, lots of time spent outside in the sun. We all know we need to protect ourselves from too much exposure to the sun, but as we age, our skin’s needs change, just like the rest of our body. As July is UV Awareness Month, we here at Greystone Health have some tips to keep you healthy while still being able to enjoy catching those rays.
Sunlight is divided into UVA (long wave ultraviolet) and UVB (short wave ultraviolet) rays. UVA rays penetrate deeply into the skin’s thickest layer, known as the dermis. Unprotected exposure can lead to premature skin aging, wrinkling, and potential suppression of the immune system. UVB rays will usually burn the superficial layers of your skin and plays a key role in the development of skin cancer.
You may think a simple layer of SPF 30 sunscreen will be enough to enjoy that walk in the park, but your skin needs more than that. First of all, it’s important to take care of your skin from the inside out. Make sure you’re eating enough foods that have a naturally higher moisture content and are rich in antioxidants, like green vegetables, melons, berries, walnuts, salmon, and avocados. It’s also essential that you drink plenty of water throughout your day; as we age, we lose the ability to recognize thirst, which can lead to dehydration. Make it a habit to sip either flat or carbonated water; if you don’t enjoy plain water, you can add flavor as well as additional nutrients with sme refreshing lemon or cucumber slices. If you need, set a timer for every 25 minutes to remind yourself to take a swig, even if you don’t feel thirsty. The additional hydration will not only do wonders for your skin, but your digestive system as well.
Speaking of moisture, you need it in the air you breathe as well. Keeping a humidifier in your bedroom may seem odd during the summer months, but central air conditioning can dry out skin if you’re exposed to it all day long. The additional moisture in the air will help skin stay moisturized, and it also helps you breathe easier and sleep more deeply. Which is also a great benefit for skin! A good night’s sleep is the number one skin care tip any doctor will give you. While our bodies are resting overnight, they’re still doing a lot of self-repair as we sleep.
Keeping your skin moisturized starts with your shower or bath. Avoid harsh soaps and body scrubs; use a body wash with Vitamin E and keep the water temperature warm, but not too hot. When drying yourself off, pat gently with a thick towel instead of rubbing the skin harshly for a quick dry. Apply a body oil, followed by a body lotion. Once those have dried, liberally apply your sunscreen to all exposed skin. You may want to get a special sunscreen for your face and one for your body, as some sunscreens can be too heavy for facial skin. Choose a sunscreen with an SPF of 45 or higher, and make sure you carry it with you to reapply throughout your day as necessary.
Finally, be sure to dress appropriately. Hats can do wonders to keep the sun off of your face and the top of your head, but be sure to choose one that’s a light color and made of a breathable fabric. Dark colors absorb the heat of the sun’s rays and make cause you to feel hotter than it actually is, so choose a lightweight hat that’s not just flattering, but functional. Sunglasses are also obviously vital for protection, whether or not you need a prescription. Even the most basic ones you can find at a drugstore offer 100% UVA/UVB protection, so pick up a few pairs to have on hand.
At Greystone Health, we are invested in your total well-being and want you to enjoy all the benefits of an active lifestyle for as long as possible. We hope these tips will encourage you to get out there for some fun in the sun!