Sun Awareness Week – the 8th-14th of May
From the 8th until the 14th of May 2017 is sun awareness week, and with summer fast approaching now is the time to start thinking about how you can stay safe in the sun this year. Every year 2,000 people die from malignant melanoma; the second most common, but most dangerous form of skin cancer in 20-39 year olds. With an estimated 26% of men and 33 % of women actively trying to get a sun tan, the risk of us accidentally burning our skin is extremely high.
We spoke to Jo Carey, a pharmacist at Lloyd’s Pharmacy, and asked her about the best tips for staying safe in the sun.
What part of the body is the most vulnerable to sun damage?
“Parts of the body most vulnerable to sun damage are places like your nose and eye lids, which are exposed to the sun a lot. Our lips are also more vulnerable to the sun’s effects as they’re made of more delicate skin.”
Approximately how quickly can the sun damage your skin?
“This depends on the time of day, strength of UV rays, your age and skin type, but anytime your skin is exposed to UV rays it is at risk of damage. Damage can occur in a matter of minutes.”
What factor of sun cream should people be wearing when out in the sun?
“My advice would be to wear a sun cream with an SPF no lower than 15 and higher for children. The higher the number – the better the protection, so go high! Be sure to buy a sun cream that protects against UVA and UVB rays.”
What signs of severe sun damage should people look out for and when should they become concerned about cancer?
“Sunburn is the most obvious sign of skin damage and becoming sun-burnt repeatedly will increase your chances of developing skin cancer. You may also notice sun spots, freckles or mole changes, if you are concerned about any of these you should get them checked out at your doctors. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health. Any changes in skin colour, moles, skin texture or any broken skin that won’t heal is always best to run past your GP.”
When are people most vulnerable to sun damage?
“The summer sun’s rays are at their most harmful between 11am and 3pm, and so general advice is to try to avoid being out in direct sunlight at those times. If you are going to be out in the sun in the peak of the summer sun, make sure you wear sun cream and are well covered up.”
Have you got any tips on how to reverse sun damage?
“Protecting yourself from any further skin damage by being extra cautious in the sun will help your skin from becoming any more damaged.”