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Is Tanning Safe for Seniors?

By Home Care Assistance, 9:00 am on

As the days lengthen and the temperature rises, some seniors begin to take an interest in tanning. Though tanning may be fun or relaxing for seniors, there are many safety concerns for Ft. Lauderdale at-home caregivers to consider. Unfortunately, the risks of tanning often increase as people age, but that doesn’t necessarily mean your loved one has to stay inside all summer.

The Benefits of Tanning

It may be tempting to automatically dismiss tanning because it is known to cause cancer, but there are a few ways that it can be beneficial for seniors. Tanning is a very relaxing and calming experience and some seniors feel more attractive and confident with a healthy golden tan. This calming effect can lower blood pressure, ease depression, and decrease stroke risks. Tanning also increases melanin levels, which can provide a slight protection from the rays of the sun. Additionally, exposure to the rays of the sun provides a steady boost of vitamin D and helps heal skin conditions like eczema.

The Disadvantages of Tanning

The biggest issue with tanning is that UV rays penetrate the skin, damaging DNA and causing skin cancer. Doctors estimate that 90 percent of all melanomas are caused by UV exposure. Half of all people over the age of 65 have skin cancer, which means tanning can increase risks of developing this dangerous condition. Tanning can also cause cataracts or exacerbate poor senior vision. Each time the skin is exposed to UV rays, collagen and elastin fibers are damaged, causing wrinkles, age spots, and thinning skin.

Should Seniors Tan?

Ultimately, the risks of tanning slightly outweigh the benefits, but it is important to not ignore the mental benefits that a senior may get from some time in the sun. If your elderly loved one insists on tanning, high SPF sunscreen and tanning periods of no greater than 20 minutes may provide some protection from the most life-threatening risks of tanning. However, the best option for physical health is to avoid excessive UV ray exposure. The important thing for Ft. Lauderdale respite caregivers to remember is that moderation is the key to a healthy balance.

Senior skin tends to be more sensitive due to years of exposure to the environment. You can help your loved one maintain healthy skin when you call Home Care Assistance in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, at (954) 909-0370. Our dedicated caregivers are highly trained and will help your loved one adopt healthy lifestyle habits that promote longevity and wellbeing. Schedule a free consultation today and let us help your loved one age in place with dignity. 

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