Saturday, May 19, 2012

Are older men wiser when it comes to sun protection?

Apparently not much changes with men as we age: we still continue to believe that we're invincible! Well perhaps as far as looking after our skin, according to some recent research that I read today.

Older men are not good at protecting their skin from the sun and are at greater risk from developing skin cancer according to the report. The "Silver Surfers" reasoning goes like this: "I need a bit of sunshine and at my age, why bother with all this sun protection?". Well, I still vividly recall one of my first patients who was a melanoma sufferer and not all the gold in the world would get me to swap places with that poor guy! The good news is that early detection and treatment of melanomas - before they have spread to the lymph glands - has a 98% survival rate at 5 years, which in anyones book is pretty damned good!

So for all of those testosterone charged senior males who still know where their abdominal muscles are and love to flex them, here's a few tips.

Over the age of around 60 yrs you're going to lose subcutaneous fat and your skin is going to become more fragile; thus it needs all the help you can give it. Too much UV rays will damage the skin further and raise the real risks of developing sun related cancers. Think of your skin in the follwoing way: imagine a bucket, and once you've filled that bucket with water, it can't take any more. The skin is your "bucket" and the sun is the "water" and by the time you've got to 60 you will almost certainly have filled your "bucket" and you need to "turn the tap off", in other words avoid the sun's powerful rays.

So go outside and enjoy the great outdoors before 10am and after 4.00pm. If you have to go out in between those times make sure that you "cover up". Get into the habit of putting sunblock on exposed skin after you've brushed your teeth in the morning - summer and winter. Wear a hat with a wide brim: there are some really good ones around so take time to browse the shelves until you find one that makes you smile! Wear long sleeved skirts and slacks and if you're invited out during the day always try to find a good spot in the shade - you'll meet a lot of other interesting people there!

And if you notice something on your skin that has changed shape or colour, or bleeds easily, then please don't ignore it - get it checked by a professional and not your golfing buddy!

The sun is the most powerful structure in our planetary life and we should treat it with the greatest of respect - just like you'd like to be treated yourself!

Ampersands & angle brackets need to be encoded.

1 comment:

Mariodacatsmom said...

You hit the nail right on the head Dr. D. I don't know if it a mocho thing or a matter of not thinking, but men sure don't like to wear sun screen. I'm always nagging at mine to put some on but most of the time it falls on deaf ears.