Are Sunscreen Myths Putting Your Aging Parent at Risk?

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Most people know that one of the most effective ways to protect the skin from sun damage, including sunburns and skin cancer, is to wear sunscreen. Applying sunscreen is a ritual before heading out for a day in the sun, or enjoying and activities such as sitting on the beach. Unfortunately, many people have misconceptions about sunscreen that can put them at greater risk. As a family caregiver, is extremely important for you to understand these misconceptions, and to implement proper use of sunscreen to protect your aging parent, yourself, and the rest of your family.

Some sunscreen myths that maybe put in your aging parent at risk include:

  • All sunscreens are the same. There are actually two forms of sunscreen. Chemical versions work by absorbing damaging rays, while physical versions reflect them. Many products combine these elements to increase protection. If your senior has sensitive skin, physical versions may be best as they are less likely to irritate the skin.
  • Sunscreen is most effective as soon as you apply it. If you go anywhere on a sunny day you are likely to see people slathering on sunscreen in preparation of their fun. This, however, is not the best way to protect yourself. Sunscreen needs approximately half an hour to absorb into the skin and reach maximum effectiveness. Apply sunscreen before leaving the home, and be sure to apply to skin that may be exposed when clothing shifts.
  • All sun protection products protect against all forms of ultraviolet rays. This is not the case. You must look for products labeled Broad-Spectrum to ensure the product will protect against UVA and UVB rays. This will guard against sunburn, sun damage, aging, and skin cancer.
  • You don’t need sunscreen in the car. Tinted car windows do provide protection from some rays, which means most people will not burn through them, but they do not provide protection from the rays that increase risk of skin cancer. Non-tinted windows provide even less protection.
  • Dark skin does not need sunscreen. This is certainly not the case. While people with more melanin in their skin are less likely to experience a sunburn, though they can, they are still at risk of the radiation that leads to skin aging and increased risk for skin cancer.

Starting elder care for your aging parent can be a wonderful way to enhance their quality of life and give them a more fulfilling lifestyle as they age in place. An elderly home care services provider can encourage your senior to be more active, and experience greater Independence and engagement. They can also provide valuable support and assistance that will keep your parents safer and healthier throughout their later years. This can include helping them understand the value of sunscreen, apply it appropriately, and take further precautions to protect your parent’s skin while enjoying time outside.

If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Fairfax, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.