As the mother of a ten year old son, I am very conscious of keeping his skin protected at all times, but especially on warm and sunny days. Slathering on layers of sun protection with a very high SPF factor is important, and keeping out of the sun at certain times of the day, making sure he wears a cap on his head, and keeps shoulders covered, are all important considerations. I would never allow my child out in the sun without adequate protection, but is sun protection something that we still consider important as our years roll on? I think the answer is probably no.
We should look after our skin the best we can, whatever age we are. The truth is, we only get one skin, so protecting it from the weather, the elements and our environment, should be something that is always in the forefront of our minds. But I just don’t think this is true. I’m now a forty something, and although I still enjoy facials, deep cleanse each morning as part of my wash routine, and definitely apply the sunscreen when I’m on my holidays, around a pool or on the beach, I would be lying if I said I applied a moisturiser that contains an SPF every single day. And yet this should be the case, whether it be Summer or Winter (and anyone who has ever been skiing can know that Winter Sun can be just as fierce and powerful as the Tenerife beach kind.)
And as we get older, the condition of our skin continues to deteriorate. We have spent years enjoying the sun, building up an attractive tan year upon year on our holidays, and on some of those occasions we are sure to have suffered from at least the occasional sunburn. As we reach our 60s and 70s, this damage can be more obvious, along with our wrinkles and age lines. But there are still plenty of ways that we can improve the look and feel of our skin, even as we reach the Winter of our life.
Choose Your Clothes carefully
Your clothing can offer you plenty of protection from the sun. But if you choose thin layers, these may not offer the protection that you need. Thin, gauzy fabrics are not adequate protection on hot and sunny days, so instead opt for thicker cottons and linens that are opaque when held up to the sun, but still keep you feeling cool when the days are warm.
A hat is not only a stylish fashion option, but offers protection to both the head and the face on sunny days. A straw hat teamed with loose linen trousers and a long sleeved top will not only look great, but will give your skin a good level of protection too.
Check the Quality of your skin, and then choose adequate SPF
You may have noticed additional age spots, changes to the pigmentation of the skin, both generally, or in patches and more wrinkles each time you look in the mirror. You may think ageing means you can forget the SPF, but this is far from true, skin cancer is still a risk, whatever your age.
You should really wear sun protection every day, and a moisturiser that also contains SPF is a worthwhile investment. Try to go for an SPF that is at least factor 30, although the higher the better is always a rule of thumb. Keeping a small bottle of sun lotion, a travel size maybe, in your bag for when you are out and about is also a good idea as you can top up your level if your skin is feeling parched and dry.
Obviously, ageing is something that can be neither reversed or halted, but it can be delayed, and keeping your skin protected from the sun will help prevent further patches of discolouration and age spots.
If it feels too hot, take cover
Sometimes, even with all the steps above taken, it may just be too darned hot! In those cases, it may be best to take cover. Keep out of the sun at the hottest time of the day (between 12-3pm in most cases – maybe take a siesta like they do in Spain.). If you are sitting outside in a bar or restaurant, use the cover of a canapé or umbrella rather than sitting in direct sunlight.
Check for Skin Cancer
As I have already mentioned, skin cancer is a threat that exists at any age, but it does increase around the age of fifty, due as we have already mentioned, to all those years spent enjoying the sun and sometimes suffering from sunburn. If you have any concerns regarding changes to your skin, you should consult your doctor, or a dermatologist for a skin cancer examination at your earliest possible convenience.