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Caring for Your Grandkids? Sun Safety Tips for Grandparents

Sun Safety Tips for Grandparents

Visits from family or keeping your grandchildren over the summer often means more time outside and more time in the sun. While you’re outdoors making new memories with your loved ones, it’s important to stay sun savvy and protect your skin. Keys Dermatology, your local skin cancer and dermatology experts, has great sun safety tips for grandparents.

Sun Damage and Skin Cancer Risks for Older Adults

The American Academy of Dermatology estimates that melanoma will affect 1 in 27 men and 1 in 40 women in their lifetime. For adults over the age of 65, the risk of developing skin cancer is significantly higher than among younger adults. This is mostly attributed to the accumulation of sun damage throughout the lifetime. Because UV rays are a form of radiation, the lasting effects are lifelong.

As we age, our skin also becomes more susceptible to UV damage caused by sun exposure. Thinner skin means UV rays can penetrate deeper, damaging existing skin cells and DNA, which may cause skin cancer to form. Older adults are also less likely to use sun protection like sunscreen or clothing. 

Proactively preventing sun damage is important for helping to reduce your risks of skin cancer. Following these tips can help you enjoy your summer while staying sun safe.

Sun Safety Tips for Older Adults

    1. Stay in the Shade: avoid direct exposure to UV rays as much as possible. Shade from trees, pavilions, patio covering, and even umbrellas can help reduce the impact of sun exposure on your skin.
    2. Use Sunscreen: everyone should use sunscreen, ideally with SPF 30 or higher. Reapply your sunscreen every two hours or every hour if you are in the water or sweating heavily.
  • Know When to Stay Indoors: limit your sun exposure as much as possible during peak hours – between 11 AM and 3 PM. You should also pay attention to the daily UV index and opt for indoor activities on days when it's particularly high.
  • Choose Sun-Safe Outfits: light, breathable layers can provide the same sun protection as staying in the shade. Wide-brim hats are a great fashionable and functional summer accessory, too.
  • Get a Skin Exam: annual skin cancer screenings and skin exams are important for people with an elevated risk of developing skin cancer. Early detection and intervention make all the difference in a successful recovery journey.

Beyond your annual skin cancer exam in Key West, you should also regularly perform self-exams to stay on top of any changes to your skin. The early signs of skin cancer include:

A: Asymmetry: one side of the growth does not match the other

B: Border: irregular, ragged, notched, or blurred edges

C: Color: uneven color, typically brown, red, back, pink, white, or even blue

D: Diameter: the growth is more than 6 millimeters (about ¼ inch) across

E: Evolving: the growth changes in size, shape, or color

If you notice these signs or have any other reason to suspect a mole or lesion may be cancerous, schedule an appointment at Keys Dermatology as soon as possible. As skin cancer experts in Key West and Islamorada, our team may perform any additional diagnostic testing necessary and provide the comprehensive, personalized care you need.

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