Sunscreen for Older Skin?

1 answer | Last updated: Sep 13, 2016
A fellow caregiver asked...

Does my mother need to use different sunscreen than I use? She is in her 80s, and her skin seems much more delicate than mine. Is there special sunblock for older skin?

Expert Answers

Jessica J. Krant, MD, MPH, is a board-certified dermatologist specializing in medical, cosmetic, and surgical dermatology, including Mohs micrographic skin cancer surgery. In addition to her work in private practice, Krant is assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Center.

If your mother is in her 80s, there is no specific reason she would need to use different sunscreen than a younger person. Older skin is thin, but will still benefit from a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher. To avoid "sunscreen chemicals" that are a little bit controversial in the news, look for ones that contain only "physical sunscreen blockers" titanium dioxide and zinc oxide. These tend to rub in less well, but are also considered safer for babies and anyone with sensitive skin or a risk of allergies.