June 12, 2018

Taking care of your skin is important at any age, but as we grow older, our skin can become more sensitive and prone to damage. In fact, skin cancer is a major senior health concern, with one in five Americans developing skin cancer by the age of 70, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Fortunately, there are preventative steps seniors can take to reduce their risk of skin cancer and promote better overall skin health. Follow these simple and easy skin care tips to keep your skin healthy all summer long.

Stay in the shade

One of the easiest ways to protect your skin from the sun’s harmful rays is by seeking shade, especially if you’re outdoors during the sun’s peak hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seniors should wear protective accessories such as sunglasses and a hat or visor to help block out the sun’s dangerous UV rays. Staying in the shade also helps to keep your body temperature down on hot summer days, which prevents the risk of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Always wear sunscreen

It’s always wise to wear sunscreen, even on cloudy days. If you’re planning on staying outdoors for an extended period of time, be sure to reapply sunscreen at least every two hours. Certain medications may also cause adverse reactions when skin is exposed to sunlight, so older adults should consult their doctor before spending time in the sun. The Skin Care Foundation suggests older adults use a broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher for daily use and 30 SPF or higher if they are staying outdoors for a longer time.

Eat skin-healthy foods

Did you know that the foods you eat can impact the health of your skin? Certain foods, such as berries, walnuts, spinach, broccoli, avocado, and salmon are rich in minerals and antioxidants, which can help prevent inflammation in the body and lead to healthier skin from the inside out.

Keep skin moisturized

As we age, our skin can become prone to dryness and irritation, and using air conditioning in the summer may also increase dry skin. Prevent dry skin by applying a moisturizing cream at least once a day to your face and other dry areas such as hands and elbows. Seniors should look for a moisturizer that is gentle and free of chemicals or dyes to prevent further irritation.

Drink plenty of water

The human body is made up of 50 to 70% water, including cells, tissues, organs, and skin. Therefore, it’s essential to replenish the body’s supply of water each day to aid in digestion, remove toxins from the body, and improve skin health. Without enough water, certain health problems can arise such as hypertension, migraines, and dehydration. Especially in the hot summer months, older adults need to drink plenty of water to remain hydrated. Unfortunately, some older adults experience a lack of strong thirst as a natural result of aging, which can cause them to become dehydrated more easily. Remind yourself or an older loved one to continue drinking water throughout the day to prevent the risk of dehydration in the summer.