Fall River Jewish Home

Choosing the Right Sun Block For Your Elder

It is a good idea to keep your elder out of the sun completely. Due to their skin being more fragile to the sun’s damaging rays make sure you choose a sun block that will provide the best protection of their skin. And, remember that they can still be exposed to the sun even if they are in the shade. So, in addition to having them wear a wide-brimmed hat and long sleeves, and drinking plenty of water, take special precautions by having them wear sun block as well.

So, how do you know that the sun screen you buy is providing them with the necessary protection?

  • First, choose a sunscreen that has a broad spectrum of UVA and UVB protection. This means the sunscreen protects against both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays from the sun. It should state this on the label.
  • Make sure to use sunscreen that is easy to apply. Some stores sell sunscreen towelettes in a minimum of SPF 30 and higher. Powder, sticks, sprays and gel sunscreens are also easier to apply than lotion. You can also buy sunscreens that counter elderly skin’s dryness with water-based sunscreens or chemical-free sun block alternatives.
  • Look for these three ingredients — zinc oxide, titanium dioxide and Mexoryl (also called ecamsule). These ingredients provide a broad-spectrum protection. Many sunscreens on the market today only protect against UVB rays, so make sure to look for these ingredients to be listed in the “drug facts” labels now required to be on the bottle.
  • Make sure the sunscreen you buy is “water resistant” to ensure that it is effective for at least 40 to 80 minutes even after swimming or sweating. If the sunscreen is not water resistant it is required by the FDA in the instructions to state that it needs to be reapplied after swimming or sweating.

Sunscreen sprays work just as well as creams in terms of protection, but make sure to apply enough of a spray. However, it is recommended to use a cream for their face because the chemicals in the sprays may not be healthy for them to inhale.

As a general rule – it makes very little difference what sunscreen you buy if you do not apply it to your elder properly. Make sure to also reapply sunscreen every hour and a half to ensure they are continued to be protected.

Again, it is best to keep them completely out of the sun; however, if this is not possible following these tips will ensure that they will stay protected from the harmful effects of the sun.

Which type sunscreen do you find most effective? Have you noticed your elder’s skin protected better?

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