SPF and Sun Protection for Seniors
- June 12, 2023
- 2 minute read
- Charles Pollard, FNP-C
Did you know that one in five Americans will have developed skin cancer by the age of 70? Luckily, when detected early the most common form of skin cancer is very treatable.
Skin cancer due to sun exposure affects all skin tones. Unfortunately, due to being diagnosed with skin cancer when the disease is further along Hispanic and Black patients are more likely to develop deadly forms of the disease.
The Skin Cancer Foundation says, "Late-stage melanoma diagnoses are more prevalent among Hispanic and Black people than non-Hispanic white people; 52 percent of non-Hispanic black patients and 26 percent of Hispanic patients receive an initial diagnosis of advanced-stage melanoma, versus 16 percent of non-Hispanic white patients." What's more is that the rates of skin cancer in Hispanic populations have increased by 20 percent in the last 20 years.
It is never too late to protect your skin from the sun. In fact using an SPF 15 or higher every day reduces the risk of developing melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer, by 50 percent.
But the Center for Disease Control says that less than half of adults over the age of 65 protect their skin from the sun when spending an hour or more outside. To help protect older adults’ skin from skin cancer many Medicare Advantage plans have an over-the-counter benefit that can pay for sunscreen purchases. Check with your health plan or talk with your ArchWell Health care team to see if your benefits will cover sunscreen purchases.
But there are more ways than sunscreen to protect your skin. Wide-brim hats can protect your face, neck and chest, some of the most sun-sensitive spots on older adults’ bodies. Consider buying a sun hat this summer to keep your skin safe. SPF clothing can also protect your arms and legs when you are outside.
Beyond protecting your skin with sunscreen and SPF clothing everyone should check their skin monthly to see if they notice anything new, changing, or unusual. The earlier you get a spot checked out by your doctor the better your outcome will be. New spots can develop at any age and should always be taken seriously.
At ArchWell Health you can receive on-site skin checks during your appointments. Our providers will also take the time to talk with you about the best way to protect your skin year-round.
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About the Author
Charles Pollard, FNP-C, Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C)
Growing up on Oklahoma City’s east side, Charles Pollard, a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP-C), enjoyed playing in the high school band and helping out with the family business after school. He believes age is merely a number and feels a strong obligation to deliver the customized care his senior patients deserve.
During Operation Desert Storm, Charles served as a Sergeant in the Marine Corps and a Captain in the United States Air National Guard. When he’s not working, he enjoys cooking and spending time with his family.