Sunshine can be great for everyone, but too much of it can damage your skin without you even knowing it. Cumulative sun damage can ultimately lead to skin cancer, and your loved ones are more vulnerable to these risks because of their skin’s age and sensitivity.
There are many common misconceptions when it comes to skin cancer. For instance, many people believe it mostly affects kids and young – middle-aged adults and that it takes many years to form. In reality, skin cancer can develop quickly, especially for your loved ones who have cumulative sun damage.
It’s important to protect your loved ones before they head outdoors to enjoy the warm weather and get their dose of vitamin D. If you plan ahead and understand the proper precautions you should take, you can prevent your loved ones from overexposure. Here are six ways to protect your loved ones this summer.
Use Sunscreen the Right Way
While it may seem like a layer of sunscreen is enough to protect aging skin from the sun and its rays, it’s not. Ideally you should apply about a shot-glass size amount of sunscreen to exposed skin 30 minutes before going outside. It’s always best if it can be applied before getting dressed so you don’t miss any spots.
Pay close attention to hands, feet and any bald spots. You should also carefully gage when it should be reapplied. If your loved one is sweating or swimming outside, sunscreen should be reapplied every two hours.
Choose water-resistant sunscreen that will protect against both UVA and UVB rays and an SPF of 30 or higher, and don’t forget to apply lip balm with an SPF of at least 30. If your loved one has especially sensitive skin, ask their nurse, doctor or a dermatologist for a recommendation.
Opt for Protective Clothing
Your loved ones should dress in tightly woven long-sleeved shirts and loose, lightweight long pants to get proper protection from the sun. Go for breathable fabrics such as cotton or linen. There are clothes out there that are specifically designed for UV protection, so that’s always an option as well. A quick and easy way to protect their heads and faces is with a wide-brimmed hat.
Get Eye Protection
Your loved ones have very sensitive eyes, so protect them with sunglasses that block out both UVA and UVB radiation. This will reduce damage that can cause cataracts and other age-related macular degeneration.
Avoid Mid-Day Sun
The sun is typically more dangerous in the middle of the day, from around 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. because this is the time of day its ultraviolet rays are strongest. Try to avoid the outdoors altogether during this timeframe, otherwise your loved ones are more likely to suffer from sunburn.
Pay Attention to Medications
Some medications can cause increased sensitivity to the sun and can easily be detected if you carefully look over the ones your loved one takes. If you have any questions regarding medications and the sun, you should consult a doctor before mixing the two.
Do Skin Cancer Checks
It’s important to check for skin cancer frequently. Whether you or a nurse performs the task, it’s one that can prevent cancer progression if caught in time. Here are things to look for during a check:
- Moles that have a strange shape, size or color
- New growths on the skin
- Existing growths on the skin that are itchy or bleeding
- Any spots that are a different color or shape from others on the skin
- Skin lesions or sores that won’t heal
Summer weather can be a wonderful thing if the proper precautions are taken to protect your loved ones from the sun and its dangers. Get them what they need so they’re able to enjoy barbecues with the family and other activities outside.