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How Can Sun Damage Your Senior Loved One’s Skin

By Ted Holmgren, 9:00 am on

The sun can make your senior loved one feel good in the moment, but prolonged exposure may damage his or her skin. Chandler elder care experts discuss some of the negative effects sun exposure can have on your loved one’s skin and how they can be prevented. 

Skin Cancer 

The older your loved one gets, the harder it may be for his or her immune system to recognize and kill abnormal cells caused by the sun. Instead, these cells turn into skin lesions that may be cancerous. The three main types of skin cancer that can result from sun damage are melanoma, basal cell carcinoma, and squamous cell carcinoma. Melanoma is the most dangerous type of skin cancer. When left untreated, it can spread to other organs within the body. To prevent skin cancer, your loved one needs to limit his or her exposure to ultraviolet rays from the sun.

Sunburn 

Overexposure to the sun can cause skin reddening that is both irritating and painful. Sunburn is the most visible type of sun damage. If your loved one has severe sunburn, he or she will likely develop swelling and blisters. This condition can be taxing on your loved one’s body because it can be difficult to get rid of the damaged cells. To help your loved one prevent sunburn, make sure he or she does not sit in the sun for long periods. Encourage your loved one to wear wide-brimmed hats, long-sleeved clothing, and sunglasses to block the sun’s rays.

Age Spots 

If your loved one is overexposed to the sun, brown markings may begin to appear on various parts of his or her body, including the arms, hands, and face. The older your loved one gets, the more prevalent age spots may become. These markings are a result of the skin’s inability to fight off UV rays from the sun. To help your loved one prevent age spots from occurring or enlarging and multiplying once they appear, make sure he or she uses sunscreen when outdoors. 

Solar Elastosis 

When your loved one’s skin is exposed to sunlight, his or her skin’s elastic tissue may deteriorate, causing wrinkles. The ultraviolet radiation breaks down connective tissues that consist of elastin fibers and collagen. Without the support of these tissues, the skin goes limp, losing its strength and flexibility. The best way to help your loved one prevent solar elastosis is to protect his or her skin when outdoors. Wearing protective clothing and sunscreen are easy preventive measures.

Learn more about how to keep your loved one safe in the warm and sunny summer months by reaching out to Home Care Assistance in Chandler, AZ. We offer flexible part-time and live in care, and we also offer specialized Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and stroke care Chandler families trust. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 480.448.6215 today.