As we get older, many things change in our bodies. Our hair turns grey or even worse, falls out. Our backs and knees get creaky. Our sense of smell and taste can become diminished. Our hearing starts to go. If we get a cut or wound, it seems to take forever to heal. Our memory begins to get fuzzy. Ugh, all of it!
And then there’s our skin! Oh my goodness, it dries up, it wrinkles and it begins to get all sorts of odd blemishes and spots, often aging faster than other parts of our bodies due to over-exposure to the sun and other damaging elements during our lifetime.
Fun, eh? Fortunately, there are simple ways to care for our skin and slow down the aging process (among other benefits).
Say No To Sun Damage
Speaking of our aging epidermises, there are precautions we can take to reduce the possibility of sunburn and other damage that summer sunshine (or winter vacation rays) can cause. In fact, sun protection is critical year round, especially if you spend time gardening, dining on patios or walking outdoors. True, some people don’t seem to have a problem, like my partner whose ageing skin is still as soft and unblemished as a baby’s bum due to his lucky genetics, but for the majority of us over-60 folks, sun protection is très important! And we’re not just talking about beauty, here—sun protection is critical to reducing your risk of skin cancer. Vanity aside, it should be a priority for all of us.
Here’s why. According to McGill University’s Office for Science and Society, “Sun exposure is a major risk factor for skin cancer and, in Canada, about one third of all new cases of cancer are skin cancers. We are seeing more and more instances of it over the years, and while many are treatable, a type like melanoma is particularly insidious and dangerous. (Melanoma will affect 1 in 73 Canadian women over their lifetime, and 1 in 59 Canadian men.)”
A Generation’s Worth Of Bad Habits
Whether it’s by applying sunscreen with a high SPF or staying in the shade, if we’re going to be outside playing sports, lounging around the pool or frolicking in or on the water, we need to slather it on or cover up. Heck, we should be wearing sunscreen and/or minimizing UV exposure every day, regardless of the activities we have planned!
We all know this, but do we do it? Not always. Our generation was a generation of sun worshippers, frying our skin with baby oil and foil covered sun reflectors the minute the lazy days of summer arrived. And now, we’re paying the price.
Wearable Sun Protection Options
We’re out of excuses because nowadays, you can actually wear your sunscreen. If you dislike sunscreen lotions or are allergic to these products (as am I) there are some nifty wearable items that will actually better protect you from burning.
There are plenty of wide brimmed hats to choose from, sports caps with a sort of fabric canopy attached to the back of them to protect the back of your neck, polarized sunglasses, UV-proof swim shirts and sports tops (long and short sleeved), UV-proof tights and skorts. And don’t forget the tops of your feet! Have you ever burnt them? If yes, you’ll appreciate wearing some UV protection socks or swim booties.
McGill’s Office for Science and Society also explains that “Protective clothes have an equivalent rating called UPF or “ultraviolet protection factor”. Many sun protective clothes available for purchase display a rating of UPF 50+. It means that less than one out of every 50 UV rays that hit the material will actually pass through. Thus, over 98% of UV radiation is blocked by the fabric. By comparison, our white T-shirt from earlier would be rated UPF 5 for letting through one out of five (or 20% of) UV rays.”
Unlike sunscreen, which needs to be reapplied to maintain effectiveness, UV protection clothing works throughout the day. It’s an easy solution!
Where To Get UPF Products?
Depending on your personal needs – whether you’re looking for protective coverage for when you’re at the beach, playing outdoor sports or you’re simply wanting to be well covered while walking the dog, playing with the kids at the park or sitting on an outdoor patio with friends – there are many products available that can be purchased to suit your needs. Here are some well-reviewed options that are available in Canada.
- Save Your Skin Foundation and MorrisonRowe: Includes made in Canada everyday clothing products for men, women and children.
- NOZONE: Great for shirts, sunglasses, hats and more for the whole family.
- Columbia Sportswear Canada: UPF sportswear and more for you and your loved ones.
- Eyewear: This list features some of the best UV protection brands for your eyes.
- UV-Fashions: Great UPF footwear and more – from baby to adult and everyone in between.
UV Ray Protection Is For Everyone
Ultimately, our generation should have begun protecting our skin when we were much, much younger. In many cases the damage has already been done. However, it’s still a good idea for us to practice better sun protection for our skin and eyes by covering up when outdoors in UPF clothing, donning UV polarized sunglasses, wearing sunscreen if possible and balancing our time in the sun with some time in the shade. Simple changes, like choosing a facial moisturizer with SPF, can also help. Let’s protect what’s still protectable.
And speaking of starting early, why not give your grandchildren the gift of UV sunglasses and UPF clothing and accessories! Christmas isn’t far off, after all.