It may not feel like it in every area of the U.S., but summer is on the way. Your parents should protect their skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays throughout the year. In the summer, it’s especially important as many switch to lighter clothing, short sleeves, and shorts. Any exposed skin must be protected.
Not every sunscreen works effectively, however. Dermatologists warn patients about spray-on sunscreen. People love them because they’re easy to use, but they don’t give good coverage. People simply do not spray enough onto the skin. There are better options for sunscreen. Here are some of the best.
Make Sure it Has Broad-Spectrum Protection.
Sunscreen must protect against both UVA and UVB rays. To make sure that this protection is offered, look for a sunscreen that says it offers broad-spectrum protection.
Sunscreen that has zinc oxide is ideal as that protects against UVA1, UVA2, and UVB rays. Titanium dioxide protects against UVA2 and UVB rays. Both are natural ingredients, which makes them more appealing to people with sensitivities to chemicals. Anthelios SX is gaining ground. It contains organic materials that block UVA2 rays. Avobenzone is a chemical that offers the best protection against UVA1.
Larger Bottles May Be Worthwhile.
The key to sunscreen is that a thick layer needs to be used. Light layers don’t protect as well. If your parent has a small bottle, they’re more likely to try to use less. Get a large bottle and make sure they know they want to have a thick layer on all exposed skin. If sheer clothing allows sun rays to pass through the material, the skin under that sheer clothing also needs sunscreen.
Go for the Highest Possible SPF.
Get the highest SPF possible. Don’t trust it to be accurate though. Tests have found that products may say they are 30 SPF, but tests found they were actually 15 to 20 SPF.
Look for a Seal From the Skin Cancer Foundation (SCF)
Check for the SCF’s seal. Sunscreen receiving this seal has been tested and effectively protects against UVA and UVB rays and meets the SCF’s criteria.
A general rule is to apply sunscreen every two hours. Some sunscreen companies recommend shorter time periods. Make sure your parent follows directions. If your parent has a pool or goes into a lake, ocean, river, or sprinkler, sunscreen must be reapplied after getting out.
If your parent is likely to forget when sunscreen was applied, it’s equally likely there are activities of daily living that challenge them. Senior care services work with the elderly to ensure they are safe and happy at home. Hire caregivers to monitor time in the sun, keep your parent from overheating, and offer supervision in a pool.