Spring and summer are on the way. While your parents should be using sunscreen throughout the year, it’s especially important during the spring and summer months. People tend to go outside more often as cold and dreary weather make room for dry, warm weather.
A CDC survey found that only 14 percent of men and almost 30 percent of women admit to using sunscreen regularly. Women tend to use sunscreen more on their face than the rest of their body. Men tended to be remiss in using it in either area. Only 60 percent of sunscreen users reported using a broad-spectrum sunscreen. Around 8 out of 10 people said they use at least an SPF of 15 or higher.
American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone use an SPF of 30 or higher. They also urge people to only use broad-spectrum sunscreens. Is your parent using the right sunscreen?
What Should You Look For?
An effective sunscreen is one that protects against both UVA and UVB rays. If your parents are not using a broad-spectrum sunscreen, they need to go shopping. The sunscreen they purchase must be water-resistant, even if they’re not planning to go in the water.
The SPF must be at least 30. The best sunscreen is one that contains a mineral like zinc oxide, titanium dioxide, sulisobenzone, oxybenzone, or avobenzone. Ideally, you want one that has two or more of those.
Common Mistakes People Make When Using Sunscreen
The most common mistake people make is not applying a thick enough layer. If you can’t see it, you should apply more. It needs to be applied before you head outside. Apply it, wait for about 15 minutes and then leave the house.
Cover any area of skin that is exposed to the sun. This includes all areas of the face, the hands, your arms, your feet, and your legs. As a secondary protective measure, a wide-brimmed hat that shades the face and neck should be worn when gardening or spending time outside.
Sunscreen needs to be reapplied every hour or two. If it’s been two hours since your parents last applied sunscreen, they need to apply more. If they’ve been sweating, they shouldn’t wait the full two hours.
On cloudy days, people think they don’t need sunscreen. They still do. UVA and UVB rays can still get through the clouds. The levels aren’t as high, but there still is a need to wear sunscreen.
If your parents lose track of time easily, you need someone around to remind them to get in the shade, have a glass of water, and reapply sunscreen. They may need help remembering to avoid being in the sun during peak daylight hours, usually from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Senior care aides can do all of that. Call our senior care agency to talk about these and other benefits caregivers offer.