Who doesn’t love summer? Holidays, festival’s, beach days and barbeques… Bliss. But are you protecting your skin properly?
We’ve all done it, lost track of time, forgotten to take our cream or a hat out and ended up looking like a lobster… Ouch!
I had no idea just how many people were affected by sun damage and skin cancer.
- Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK
- Over 80% of all skin cancers are due to over-exposure to the sun
- 7 people a day die from skin cancer
(statistics from www.skcin.org)
These are pretty frightening statistics, but it is preventable. Armed with the right information you can easily keep you and your family’s skin safe this summer.
UV rays. What are they?
UVR is ultraviolet radiation that comes from the sun. There are two types of UV rays which penetrate the skin. UVA and UVB, both rays penetrate different layers. This is the easiest way to remember the difference:
UVA – (Aging) – These have short waves which only penetrate our surface layer causing premature aging.
UVB – (Burn) – These penetrate deeper and cause burning and deeper damage. However, they do also help us produce vitamin D.
The sun’s rays are crucial for our body’s development of vitamin D so it’s all about getting the goodness from the sun without causing long term damage.
What sun cream do I need to look for?
UVA & UVB protection. When choosing your sun cream, it is crucial that it offers protection from both rays. They are often called broad spectrum protection. Go for a 30spf, even in the UK the rays are more powerful than you think. Apply the cream 30 mins before going out and re-apply every 2 hours to ensure maximum protection… and ‘yes’ you can still get a tan while using sun cream correctly.
You may not be aware but there are two types of sun creams available… if you’re unsure what yours is just check the back ingredients label.
- Chemical sun cream. These absorb radiation and usually contain oxybenzone.
- Mineral sun cream. These reflect radiation and usually contain titanium dioxide and zinc oxide.
Both are going to keep your skin safe which is the main thing. Personally I, and others, recommend the mineral sun creams as they are potentially better for our bodies, sensitive skin and the environment. There are studies that show chemical sun creams to be damaging to aquatic life and coral. Something we really need to be mindful of.
This is a fab article by Lauren Sharkey that goes into a lot more detail on the benefits of mineral sun creams and why we should be making the switch. The article reviews a variety of sun creams with plenty of affordable options.
How else can I keep my skin safe?
Wearing a hat is a great way to keep the sun off your face and look fab at the same time. Win-win. You can also buy specialist clothing that filters UV rays. These are perfect for putting on your kids at the beach. If you’re having a walk or a park trip, have your picnic under a tree. When that mid-day sun is high give your skin a rest.
A 200ml bottle of sun cream should last a week for one person when used correctly. So that may help when stocking up for your holidays.
Let’s reduce these statistics and keep our skin and our family’s skin healthy this summer, while caring for our planet… Both are at risk.
If you have any concerns or think you or a loved one may be affected, please seek medical advice. It may be nothing but it’s always best to be sure.
If you would like more information on skin cancer and prevention, then visit the Skcin website. Skcin is a charity dedicated to raising awareness of skin cancer and their website has very comprehensive information and advice.