“National Facial Protection Month” sounds a bit silly, but facial protection is actually a very important and often overlooked problem in today’s society. Spring has sprung, and the sun is shining, and it’s time to get outside and work on our gardens. It is easy to get caught up in the wonders of nice weather and the determination to beautify your house and garden, but these things often push basic safety measures out of our minds. How often do you actually apply sunscreen before going out to work on the garden yourself, for example?
For seniors especially, skin care is very important. Aging skin is thinner and more prone to problems such as skin cancer, so facial protection is something that cannot be neglected. You or your senior care aide should never let the senior in your care go outside without proper facial protection, especially on sunny days.
Here are some tips to help prevent sunburn and other skin ailments, without sacrificing your loved one’s time in the garden.
- Sunscreen – Everyone, regardless of age, should wear sunscreen when they go outside. Even on cloudy days, one can get sunburn from the UV rays coming through the clouds, so be sure to have yourself or your senior care aide apply a layer of sunscreen to your senior’s face before they leave the house to go outdoors for an extended period of time. The higher the SPF the better, and don’t forget to reapply every few hours for maximum protection.
- Hats – Baseball caps, straw hats, or hats with floppy brims are perfect for keeping the harsh sun off of a senior’s face. Make sure that the brim is keeping the face in shadow, and preventing the sun’s rays from getting through. This can also serve to keep the senior cooler, as the elastic or cotton bands in the hat soak up excess sweat, leaving them feeling less hot and fatigued.
- Find a shady spot – Even with sunscreen and a hat, it is a bad idea to expose one’s face to the sun for long periods without a break. Make sure that the senior has a shady place to sit, relax, and take a break from the sun, perhaps with some lemonade to keep them cool. This will give the skin on their face some welcome relief, and will keep them from getting a sunburn.
- Lotions and creams – While the other tips only apply when you and your senior are going outdoors, this last tip applies to anyone, anytime. There are many lotions and creams on the market designed to keep skin healthy and calm (not to mention soft and supple!), and applying one of these every night before bed or when the senior gets out of the tub or shower can leave their skin hydrated and more resistant to problems like sunburn.
It is always easier to prevent a problem then have to solve it later, so be vigilant about protecting your aging loved one’s face. It may sound a bit childish to have to put on sunblock before leaving the house, but aging skin is just as important as the skin we had when we were children, so we must make sure to protect it. That way, it can enjoy many more sunny days in the future.