May is skin cancer awareness month, this is a topic close to my heart as I had my own experience of skin cancer in 2014. Knowledge is everything and the good news is, if caught early the odds are high of eliminating it completely. If you see something new, changing or unusual seek advice from your GP. There is also a great new app that has just been released this month called MySkinDoctor App which will save you long waits for a dermatology appointment and can diagnose you within three days. Spread the word about this app and help save lives. https://www.myskindoctor.co.uk/
When the sun comes out it feels good, but it can be your skin’s worst enemy, its not just your beach holidays that cause trouble, its every time you walk the dog or commute to work without sun protection that can lead to skin damage such as wrinkles, age spots and skin cancer. Sun damage can happen at any age and skincare should start in childhood, 80% of photo- damage is done by the age of 18. Firstly, be aware that no sunscreen provides complete protection, so never rely on sunscreen alone to protect your skin – for best protection you should practice the following tips:
- Cover up with suitable clothing.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Stay in the shade particularly from 11am -3pm.
- Wear an SPF (preferably water resistant) Make sure it’s broad spectrum and carries a UVA symbol (if it has a star rating, use a minimum 4 star).
- Remember to check the expiry date!
- Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go outside and preferably once again when outdoors.
- Apply a generous amount of sunscreen, 35 ml of sunscreen is sufficient for one full body application. (Roughly one teaspoon for each area of the body and half a teaspoon for the face) Many people find this quantity just too much, so one trick is to reapply once you are in the sun. Think of applying sunscreen like painting a wall with a textured surface, when two coats is almost always required for satisfactory coverage. In the same way two “coats of sunscreen” may be required for adequate protection.
- Reapply sunscreen every two hours when you are outdoors. Sunscreen can be easily wiped or perspired off and you need to keep putting sunscreen on to get the best protection.
- Always reapply sunscreen immediately after swimming.
Some interesting facts for you……
A common misconception is that a sunbed tan will prepare or protect your skin before you go abroad. The fact is, that sunbeds are no safer than exposure to the sun itself and the intensity of UV rays from some sunbeds can be 10-15 times higher than the Mediterranean midday, summer sun. Once the tan fades the damage remains, which can result in very serious consequences over time. There is so much evidence to support this, that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified sunbeds as a Group 1 carcinogen. This is its highest cancer risk category. Reports further conclude that the risk of cancer is significantly higher when exposure takes place at a younger age.
You can obtain sufficient levels of Vitamin D in 15 -20 minutes of sun exposure a day below the levels of UV which cause reddening to the skin.
Non-melanoma skin cancer is the UK’s most common cancer.
Malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer is now one of the most common cancers in young adults (aged 15-34) in the UK.
Over the last twenty-five years, rates of melanoma in Britain have risen faster than any other common cancer.
According to Cancer Research UK, 1 in 36 UK males and 1 in 47 UK females will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime.
The best path to beautiful healthy skin is to enjoy the sun safely and adopt as many of these steps and make them daily habits all year long.