As summer approaches, you anticipate spending your days at the beach to enjoy the warm sunshine. You may take your family for a fun experience or have a relaxing day with friends at the beach. While focusing on maximizing the sun, you should remember to protect yourself and your loved ones. Sadly, most seniors ignore the measures to protect their skin from the sun. Statistics reveal that less than half of the seniors protect their skin when out in the sun, increasing their risks of skin cancer.

In this article, we help seniors with sun safety pro tips for beach time.

Seniors And Sun Exposure

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the US, and the risks increase with aging. The Skin Cancer Foundation reveals that more than half of skin cancer deaths occur in adults over 65. Hence, protecting yourself as a senior before going out in the sun is important. During summer, the UV rays are stronger, and while hanging out at the beach is fun, the experience can be costly for your health.

In addition to skin cancers, seniors also risk heat stroke and cataracts following prolonged exposure to the sun. Heat stroke occurs when the body overheats after exposure to high temperatures for a long time. Heat stroke can damage critical organs or cause death in severe cases. While cataracts happen with age, exposure to the sun without adequate protection will accelerate their occurrence.

Safety Tips For Beach Time

Following the above risks of sun exposure to seniors, you should practice safety tips during beach time. These tips include:

Wear Protective Clothing

The best beach time clothing for seniors is one with good skin coverage to protect the body from direct sunlight. This includes long sleeves, skirts, and pants. If it is not too hot, consider dark colors for higher protection. Dark-colored denim, for instance, will offer an SPF of 1700, while a t-shirt will give an SPF of 7.

To protect your face, ears, and neck, consider wide-brimmed hats. You can also wear a tightly woven fabric hat that can work well against harmful rays. While older men prefer baseball caps, they do not offer complete protection hence advisable to apply sunscreen at the back of the neck. You should also wear protective shoes, but if you choose sandals, consider water-resistant sunscreen on the uncovered skin.

Apply More Sunscreen

Wearing sunscreen will reduce your risks of sunburn and skin cancer. Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen with at least 30 SPF several times daily for maximum protection. Apply sunscreen to all uncovered areas, including your face, ears, hands, and feet. If sweating or swimming, use water-resistant brands and reapply after getting out of the water.

Avoid the Sun During Peak UV Hours

The sun’s rays are usually strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., and you should stay indoors to protect yourself from harmful UV rays. If outside, consider a spot under a tree or covered porch. Before going out, you should confirm the UV intensity through your local weather forecast, as the UV index can be high even on a cloudy day.

Protect Your Eyes

Protecting your eyes is advisable during beach time. If unprotected, the UV light will penetrate the eye tissues and increase your risks of eye problems, including:

  • Pinguecula – This comprises a fat and protein deposit in the sclera, causing irritation and affecting the tear coverage in the eye.
  • Pterygium – This is a growth extending from the cornea to the iris and pupil.
  • Cataract – A cataract is characterized by cloudiness in the eye lens from prolonged exposure to UV rays. If untreated, cataracts can make your vision blurry and less colorful.
  • Other risks include eyelid cancers and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

To prevent the above risks, wear sunglasses which are great for protecting vision from UV rays. However, just because sunglasses are tinted does not mean they offer much protection. Therefore, consider sunglasses with a UV 400 rating for 100% UV protection.

Stay Hydrated

Whether in the sun or not, drinking plenty of water is advisable to prevent dehydration and heat stroke. Hydration will also help your heart and muscles to function efficiently.

Check Your Medications

Most seniors battle lifestyle diseases, including diabetes and heart disease, and are often under medication. Some of these medications can increase sun sensitivity, and if under prescription, consider higher SPF sunscreens or stay under the shade. If you are hypersensitive, avoiding the sun altogether is advisable. Hence, before going for beach time, discuss your prescriptions with your doctor and the levels of sun protection.


Age should not limit you from your beach time during summer. However, given the increased risks of sun exposure among seniors, you should exercise precaution while at the beach by wearing protective clothing, applying sunscreen, avoiding the sun when hot, and protecting your eyes. If under medication, discuss with your doctor your options, especially if the medicines increase your sun hypersensitivity. This way, you will reduce the risks of skin cancers and eye problems.

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