Just because you might be only going for a quick walk to the store, or staying in a shaded area of your garden doesn’t mean you should skip the sunscreen. At the beach, even if you’ll be in the water 90% of the time, apply as much sunscreen as possible as the sun is actually hotter there. Even as a senior, sun protection is important, you need it now more than ever!
The worrying trend is that less than half of older adults protect their skin from the sun when outside for an hour or more. Further statistics reveal that skin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States and worldwide, and 1 in every 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70 according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
When it comes to sunscreen, there is no such thing as too much of it. The benefits of sunscreen far outweigh the small matter of too much application; so protecting your skin at all times when outside should be your biggest priority.
When and How to Apply Sunscreen
Here are a few Dos and Don’ts for using sunscreen:
- Apply more sunscreen than what you feel is needed. In fact, if possible, put on so much sunscreen that it takes a real effort to rub it in all the way. That will be a sure way of being fully protected. Most adults need about 1 ounce — or enough to fill a shot glass — to fully cover their bodies.
- Apply sunscreen at least 15 to 20 minutes before going outside and reapply it at least every two hours for maximum prevention of sunburns.
- In the event that you are swimming, sunscreen should be applied more frequently, even if it is waterproof. This is because the water may wear some of it off as you swim, leaving your skin very exposed.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the frequently asked questions around the use of sunscreen are:
What does a broad-spectrum sunscreen do?
There are two types of UV light that can harm your skin – UVA and UVB. UVA rays can cause premature aging of your skin, causing wrinkling and age spots. UVB rays on the other hand can burn your skin. A broad-spectrum sunscreen protects you from both UV types.
What SPF do you need?
In full, SPF stands for sun protection factor. This is basically a measure of how well the sunscreen you are using protects your skin against UVB rays. You need a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 with UVA and UVB coverage.
What do I need to know about sunscreen ingredients?
Be careful to look out for an oil-free sunscreen if your skin is acne-prone. This might be accompanied by phrases like “non-comedogenic” or “won’t clog pores” on the packaging.
Faced with a choice between pricier sunscreens and generic ones, you can definitely use either as long as it is SPF 30 at the very least.
Should I use a spray sunscreen or a lotion?
If you have to pick, then the cream/ lotion is your best bet. This is because the current FDA regulations do not apply to spray sunscreens, and if not rubbed in thoroughly or sprayed on windy days they may not be as effective.
In addition, please do not rely on makeup that is said to come with sunscreen in it. Instead, apply a moisturizer with sunscreen daily under any makeup products to be sure that you are well protected.