July is UV Safety Month, which means it's the perfect time to remind our readers about some of the best ways to stay safe in the sun. This is especially important for seniors, since skin cancers like melanoma are deadlier in older populations. Thankfully, there's a lot we can do to take precautions against developing skin cancer. Here are three ways to stay safe this July:
Don’t Forget The Sunscreen
This may seem obvious but it's something that slips so many people's minds. If you’re going to be in the sun for a time with a senior you love, bringing sunscreen to stay safe from damaging UVA rays is CRUCIAL. Most scientific studies suggest reapplying every two to three hours during the day. If skin is more pale in color, you may need to apply more frequently to avoid a burn.
If you’re not a fan of sunscreen or are looking to cut down on costs, you can use physical barriers like clothing and hats. If you wear a sun hat and a loose fitting long-sleeve shirt, this can drastically cut down on how much sunscreen you need to use - as the only exposed parts of your body will be the lower legs, feet and hands. Many people report that sunscreen breaks them out when applied to the face, so this can be a good solution for those with oily skin.
Get Checked for Skin Cancer Regularly
It’s commonly recommended that you see a dermatologist annually. You want to get all of the moles on your body examined by an expert to ensure they’re not cancerous. This is a quick, painless process and is usually covered by insurance. If the doctor notices anything suspcious, they will get the mole biopsied and sent to a lab for further testing.
You can and should also perform home checks. Give your skin a look-over before or after the shower and try to spot any abnormal growths or moles. Skin cancer misdiagnosis is a major issue, so being as informed as possible can help you avoid unnecessary treatment. One good rule to follow when performing self-examinations is the ABCDE rule: asymmetry, border, color, diameter, evolving. If one or more of your moles carries any of these traits, schedule an appointment with a dermatologist immediately!
Use Skin-Friendly Beauty Products
Many commercial hygiene and beauty products like moisturizers and makeup have toxic ingredients. Years of applying toxic, carcinogenic chemicals can increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Women are more at risk for the side effects of these synthetic products since women use more beauty products on average than men.
To reduce your risk, try shopping for non-toxic natural bathroom products or make your own. There are many recipes online for homemade soap and shampoo. If you choose to purchase these items online, look for items approved by the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit that researches consumer product toxicity.
By taking these steps, you can help protect your skin and health not only for UV Safety Month but for the future. Positive lifestyle changes can make an impact on well-being no matter what age you start them.
Start feeling better and improving your health today by challenging yourself to adopt all of these changes by the end of July! You’ll thank yourself for it in the future.
Guest blog by Amada Contributor ConsumerSafety.org