I'm 80 years old, I play 18 holes of golf at least 3 times a week. What SPF number "sun block" should I use? It seems to me that my skin is "thinner", and maybe it requires a higher SPF number than the younger people.
Posted: 14 Jun 2005 10:26 AM Originally Posted: 13 Jun 2005 06:41 PM
As we age, our skin does get thinner and more fragile. It can easily bruise or tear. If there is a lot of photodamage, skin feels leathery or "scratchy" and looks spotted with scaly, pinkish spots. These can be pre-cancers and should be regularly examined by a dermatologist.
Risk for skin cancer is related to sun-exposure and genetic predisposition (fair-haired, light-skinned persons who easily burn and have moles or a family history of melanoma are at higher risk). It is not necessarily related to thin skin.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommends broad-spectrum sunscreens that protect against both UVA and UVB. They recommend SPF 15 or higher; I usually recommend SPF 30. The average person needs about one ounce (enough to fill a shot glass) to adequately cover the exposed body. It should be applied 30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapplied every 2 hours. For those interested in the math, SPF equals the amount of sun it takes to burn with sunscreen, divided by the amount of sun it takes to burn without sunscreen. Basically that means that the higher SPF numbers will allow you to be in the sun longer before burning. My final advice for golfers: wear a broad-rimmed hat that covers your ears!