By Kelly Bechtel, Nursing Care Manager at Seventy-Five State Street
Health Benefits of Summer Sunshine
Enjoying the summer sunshine can bolster one’s health in many ways. Not only is natural sunlight associated with a boost in mood, but UV rays can help provide essential nutrients (such as vitamin D). Recent research published on SunlightInstitute.org shows that fun-in-the-sun can also have a positive effect on various health conditions, including high blood pressure.
However, as wonderful as the golden rays may be, there’s a level of risk involved in spending too much time in the sunlight. As we get older, our skin becomes more dry and fragile, meaning that it also becomes more sensitive to the sun. Without appropriate sunscreen, sun exposure can contribute to skin aging, increased melanoma risk, and serious surface damage (sunburns).
Don’t Pass on the Sunscreen
Reports vary as to when sunscreen became widely popular. But most of us can attest anecdotally that we only recently started viewing it as absolutely essential, as dermatology research has started catching up with beauty trends. For many of us, our parents and grandparents may never have worn sunscreen. They might still be inclined to pass on using it, even today!
As SkinCancer.org notes in a recent article, “You’ve probably heard more than one older person say something like, ‘When I was young, no one used sunscreen. It’s too late to change the past, so if I get skin cancer, I get it.’ You now know that’s not true; it’s never too late to reduce your skin cancer risk.”
Luckily, we are armed today with not just knowledge, but also a nearly infinite supply of possible protective products. There are countless sprays and lotions, designed in every SPF level and for every skin type. In fact, you can even buy sunscreen manufactured with older adults in mind. Some brands emphasize an easy-to-use applicator, or a grease-free solution that keeps sand from sticking to sensitive skin.
In addition to sunscreen, seniors can seek out clothing which protects from ultraviolet rays, like wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses. Fashion and safety go hand in hand!
Here are a few other summer sun protection tips:
- Time of day. Sunlight is most damaging between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., so it’s a good idea to spend those hours indoors or in the shade.
- Artificial UV rays. Avoid products like tanning beds, which create the same risks without the healthy benefits of sunshine.
- Dietary factors. Eating foods rich in antioxidants (such as fish or tomatoes) can also help protect your skin from damage.
This summer enjoy the gorgeous rays, but don’t forget to give your skin the protective treatment it deserves!
Content provided by Seventy-Five State Street.