Sunscreen 101: A Focus on Senior Skincare

By July 16, 2014Healthy Aging

While it’s great for seniors to get outside on a warm sunny day, taking proper skincare precautions is of the utmost importance. As we age, our skin becomes more delicate and prone to damage. For adults over the age of 65, protection from the elements is essential. Sun damaged skin is weaker, leathery and easily bruised.

Before going outside to bask in the warm rays of the sun, take the time to choose the appropriate sunscreen. With multiple types, brands and strengths of sunscreen available, picking the right combination can quickly become confusing. Luckily, the Environmental Working Group puts out an updated list of safest and most effective sunscreens each year.

The highest scores are awarded to sunscreens that provide excellent UV (ultraviolet) protection and are made from nontoxic ingredients. For 2014, the following sunscreens made the Environmental Working Group’s “top 10” list:

  • All Terrain AquaSport Lotion, SPF 30
  • Alba Botanica Very Emollient Sport Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 45
  • Aubrey Organics Natural Sun Sunscreen, Unscented, SPF 45
  • Badger Sport Sunscreen Cream, Unscented, SPF 35
  • Blue Lizard Australian Sunscreen, Sensitive, SPF 30+
  • Caribbean Solutions SolGuard Sunscreen, SPF 25
  • DeVita Skin Care Solar Body Moisturizer, SPF 30+
  • Nature’s Gate Sport Sunscreen Lotion, SPF 50
  • Safe Harbor Natural Suncare Sensitive Lotion Mineral Sunscreen, SPF 30
  • Thinksport Livestrong Sunscreen, SPF 50+

Sunscreen Tips
When going outside for more than 15 minutes, seniors should apply sunscreen first. Remember to apply the lotion or cream liberally. Experts suggest using at least two tablespoons of sunscreen for areas of the body that are normally exposed and a nickel-sized portion just for the face.

Older adults or senior caregivers should apply sunscreen about an hour before heading outside and into the sunshine. Additionally, it’s important to reapply the product every two hours, even sooner if the hot weather is causing the senior to sweat.

In-home caregivers should either purchase a new tube of sunscreen each spring or check to make sure the existing tube of sunscreen has not expired. Past the listed expiration date, sunscreen is ineffective and has the potential to cause serious skin irritation.

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