How can seniors prevent skin cancer?

By October 15, 2012Healthy Aging

Skin cancer is one of the major concerns facing seniors today, since their skin is extremely delicate and susceptible to the sun’s UV damage. The following information can help seniors and their caregivers understand exactly how to use sunscreen to avoid the permanent damage that leads to skin cancer.

Using Sunscreen Correctly

  • Most consumers are not aware that sunscreen is not effective immediately. It takes approximately ten minutes before sunscreen begins to work. Seniors should always apply sunscreen at least ten minutes before going outside.
  • Seniors should use liberal amounts of sunscreen. Using a thin layer, especially if that layer is unevenly applied, will not protect the delicate skin of seniors. Put on a thick layer and let the skin simply soak up the excess.
  • It makes no difference what season it is, seniors always need to apply sunscreen before spending time outdoors. The sun’s UV rays can damage the skin of seniors just as much in the winter as they can in the summer.
  • Be sure to look for sunscreen that has an SPF factor of at least 15, although 30 is optimal for senior’s skin. Seniors must also use a “broad-spectrum” sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB rays.
  • Seniors should also keep a lip balm handy that contains an SPF of 15 and apply the balm whenever going outdoors. Reapply the lip protection after eating, drinking and when lips begin to feel dry.

 

Perform Skin Cancer Checks at Home

The good news for seniors when it comes to skin cancer is that it can be beaten if caught early enough. Most forms of skin cancer appear lumpy, pink or red. These are known as basal cell carcinomas. Melanomas are the type of skin cancers that are more dangerous. They appear as dark moles that often grow rapidly and may appear quickly on the skin of seniors. It is vital for seniors and their caregivers to be aware of the signs of skin cancer lesions and to visit a dermatologist each year to check their moles for changes.

 

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