With the UK emerging from the longest heatwave since 1976, we've prepared this handy list of skin care advice for seniors to help you stay protected this summer.
Our skin care advice for seniors
The warmer climate and longer evenings of summer are something most of us cherish. Regardless of age, this season can be an immensely enjoyable and liberating time.
However, from dehydration to heatstroke, summer also brings additional risks, especially for older people. Your skin is your first line of defence against the sun, but you'll need to take some additional precautions to protect yourself during this time of year.
Here's our skin care advice for seniors:
Without protection, you can get sunburn in as little as 15 minutes on a particularly sunny day.
Your skin naturally gets more sensitive to sunlight as you get older. You should also ask your doctor about the side effects of any medications you're taking. Many common medications (including some antibiotics and antidepressants) cause increased sensitivity to sunlight.
To avoid sunburn, we recommend that you:
- Stay indoors, or find a shaded spot
- Apply sun lotion regularly – look for a minimum SPF of 30
- Wear light clothing that doesn't expose much of your skin
Exposure to sunlight can also cause your skin to dry out, potentially resulting in itching and irritation. However, there are other reasons this can happen in summer, too.
As well as staying out of direct sunlight, try to avoid spending too long in air-conditioned spaces (such as supermarkets or social venues). If you do need to spend time in an air-conditioned space, e.g. when you visit the doctor's surgery, you can take steps to avoid dry skin by:
- Applying moisturiser, hand cream or face cream
- Using a humectant mist spray
- Using lubricating eye drops
With many more insects around at this time of year, bites are a real risk during the summer months.
The swelling and itchiness insect bites cause our skin are bad enough. However, insect bites also get infected easily, which can lead to a quick escalation of symptoms.
To reduce your risk of being bitten by insects, we advise you to:
- Apply a suitable insect repellent whenever you're outdoors
- Avoid pools of stagnant water – such as ponds, lakes or puddles
- Try not to venture outdoors in the late evenings when insect numbers are highest
You might well be tempted to cool off and avoid the heat by going for a leisurely swim at your local pool, or while on holiday.
While this can be a great form of exercise for older people, the chlorine contained in most public pools (and, in trace amounts in your bathing water) can cause your skin to dry and crack.
To protect your skin from the effects of chlorine, we recommend that you:
- Limit the time you spend in chlorinated swimming pools and avoid swimming too regularly
- Have a lukewarm shower before and after each swim to close up your pores
- Think about applying special swimmers' body wash that neutralises chlorine
Keep our skin care advice for seniors in mind throughout the summer months to help you make the most of this joyful season.