5 Skin Cancer Prevention Tips Every Senior Should Know
Summer is here, and while seniors, and adults of all ages, may be excited about getting out to have some fun in the sun—there are some dangers that come with this time of year. Mores specifically, there are dangers that come with sitting in the sun during this time of year.
There is a misconception that seniors can’t really do anything about skin cancer at their age, as most of the UV damage that leads to skin cancer occurs during adolescence. This is not true. Seniors still need to protect their skin from sun damage.
As we age, our immune systems weaken, and our risk of getting skin cancer grows—which is why seniors in particular need to be careful with sun protection.
Here are five easy, yet effective skin cancer protection tips that any senior should be aware of and that every senior should pay attention to.
- Apply sunscreen whenever you go outside. This doesn’t mean just when it is hot, or when it is sunny out. UV damage can happen even on cooler and cloudy days.
- Reapply sunscreen often. One of the biggest mistakes that people tend to make with their sunscreen is that they don’t reapply it and they don’t put enough on. Just because you are using a high number SPF, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to reapply every two hours.
- Avoid the peak hours. This is one of the best ways to protect yourself from UV damage. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM—so all seniors should do their best to stay indoors during these times. When you do go out during these times, make sure to wear protective clothing such as hats, long sleeves and pants. Pick a lightweight blend so that you won’t overheat, but do your best to keep as much of your skin covered as possible.
- Wear sunglasses, what many people don’t realize is that the eyes are also susceptible to UV damage. With this in mind, a quality pair of sunglasses, with UVA/UVB protection is an essential component to your sun protection regimen. They will protect the eyes from both types of rays and help keep your eye health in tact.
- Always check for growths. Seniors should be checking themselves, or having their partner check themselves for suspicious growths and changes in their moles. It is best to do a head-to-toe skin cancer check at least once a month.
Every senior should keep these tips in mind during this time of year, and all year round so that they can stay as safe and protected from skin cancer as possible.
- Kimberly Langdon M.D. is a retired, board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist with 19-years of clinical experience. She graduated from The Ohio State University College of Medicine earning Honors in many rotations. She then completed her OB/GYN residency program at The Ohio State University Medical Center, earning first-place for her senior research project and placed in the 98th percentile on the national exam for OB/GYN residents in the U.S..
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