Sunscreen Tips for Seniors

Senior woman wearing bathing suit, sunglasses, sunhat, reading outside on tablet

Sunscreen is a year-round necessity, especially in sunny Florida. Even if you’ve been slathering on SPF for ages, it never hurts to refresh your memory when it comes to something as important as sun safety. So, as we head into the sizzling, scorching summer months, let’s review some sunscreen tips for seniors. It’ll only take a few minutes, and who knows — you might learn a new fact that you can use to protect your skin, update your skincare routine, or maybe even share with friends.

How to Protect Senior Skin from the Summer Sun

Our skin changes as we age. It becomes thinner, allowing UV light to penetrate more deeply and making us more vulnerable to skin cancer. In addition, most skin cancers develop over time, and because seniors have enjoyed long lives, they’ve also accumulated a lot of sun exposure over the years. Fortunately, skin cancer is amongst the most preventable forms of cancer, and it’s never too late to start protecting your skin from the sun. Let’s review some sunscreen tips for seniors.

  • Use a sunscreen that effectively blocks UV rays and resists water. Review the label. The sunscreen should block both UVA and UVB rays, which is also known as “broad spectrum” protection. It should also be water-resistant.
  • Use SPF 30 or higher. Although SPFs can go quite high these days, according to the American Academy of Dermatology, you will generally be safe with an SPF of 30 or higher. Contrary to popular belief, SPF doesn’t have anything to do with how much time you can spend in the sun without being burned. In fact, SPF is “a measure of how much solar energy (UV radiation) is required to produce sunburn on protected skin (i.e., in the presence of sunscreen) relative to the amount of solar energy required to produce sunburn on unprotected skin.” It’s tied to the amount of solar exposure, not the time you spend in the sun. And the higher the SPF, the more protection. But remember, the American Academy of Dermatology says that SPF 30 and higher is sufficient.
  • Liberally apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside. Slather on more than you think you need, making sure to cover all exposed skin, including your ears, hands, and scalp. Give it a little time to soak into the skin and provide protection.
  • Reapply every 2 hours. Sunscreen doesn’t last all day, so be sure to carry it around with you on days when you’ll be out of the house for hours. It’s especially important to reapply after swimming or heavy sweating. Although some sunscreens can resist water for a period of time, no sunscreen is waterproof.
  • Be especially cautious when the sun is strongest. This typically occurs between 10 am and 4 pm. During these hours, the sun is high in the sky, and its UV rays are strong. Be careful, and try to stay in the shade when possible.
  • Don’t rely entirely on sunscreen — wear protective clothing, too. Sunscreen is effective, but it’s not your only option. You can also wear clothing that protects against UV rays. For example, you could wear a UV-blocking wide-brimmed hat, a long-sleeved shirt, loose pants, and sunglasses. Look for products that include UV filtering or UV protection. Remember that wet clothes do not protect against UV rays; if you sweat profusely or jump in the pool, you’ll need to change into dry clothes.
  • A sunhat and sunglasses should be non-negotiable. Especially if you have thinning hair, wear a sunhat to protect your sensitive scalp skin from the sun. Look for a hat with a wide brim that will shield your face as well as your neck and ears. It should be constructed from a tightly woven material so that UV rays cannot pass through. Did you know that sunglasses actually reduce your risk of cataracts in addition to making it easier to see on bright days? Don’t just shop for dark-colored glasses; make sure they cover your whole eyes and provide 100% UV protection.
  • Limit your time outdoors. Summer is wonderful, but it can also be enjoyed from the comfort of your air-conditioned home. Don’t risk your health by staying outside for too long.


So, what do you think? Were you already aware of all these sunscreen tips for seniors? We hope at least a couple managed to surprise you! And even if none did, perhaps it was helpful to hear some reminders. No one’s perfect, but if you aim to meet these guidelines, you’ll be in good shape.

Enjoy your fun in the sun!

If you hope to retire in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, the Beach House Assisted Living & Memory Care could be the ideal place. Our friendly and compassionate staff members offer individualized care 24/7, ensuring all residents’ safety, security, and happiness. The Beach House provides assisted living and respite care. Most importantly, we tailor these services to suit each resident’s unique needs. To learn more about our amenities or schedule a tour, please get in touch with us online or call us at 904-615-8076. We look forward to hearing from you!