Sun Damage in the Elderly

Sun damage may affect the elderly, due to the fact that their skin is thinner and more sensitive. The skin of the elderly is as sensitive as the skin of a newborn baby. Special attention must be paid in order to prevent sunburns and other more serious sun damage.

Sun Damage and the Elderly

In elderly people, sun damage may be more visible, especially if the person has been exposed to a lot of sun. Elderly people that have been exposed to sun are more likely to develop melanoma than people avoiding sun. Skin cancer typically develops in elderly people, but may also occur in younger people.

The elderly may also present a range of sun damage symptoms on the skin, such as:

  • Sun spots
  • Freckles
  • Lesions
  • Wrinkled skin

The skin may also be dry and will bruise easier. The sun may also be a causing factor in macular degeneration, which is a condition leading to vision loss, and is more common in senior people.

Preventing Sun Damage

Avoiding sun exposure during summer between 11AM and 4 PM is a safe way to prevent sun damage. However, if sun exposure cannot be avoided, sun block must be used.

The elderly people need a higher SPF than used during the younger years, as the skin is more sensitive and more prone to sun burn. Even if the skin has a darker pigmentation, sun block must be worn. Hats and clothes can also protect elderly people from the damaging effects of the UV radiation. Sunglasses will offer protection for the eyes.

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