Protect your skin for Sun Awareness Week
The start of summer is an exciting time; longer days, warmer weather, and if we’re lucky, days and weekends spent outside in the sunshine.
And while exposure to sunlight can help lift our moods, trigger the production of Vitamin D and make us feel more energetic, too many people are still ignoring or downplaying the risks from the sun.
This week it’s Sun Awareness Week – a campaign that encourages people to take sun safety seriously be aware of the harmful effects of sun damage – including skin cancer.
Protecting ourselves against the risk of skin cancer couldn’t be more straightforward – it’s as simple as limiting direct skin exposure to sunlight through the combined use of SPF sunscreen and protective clothing.
Yet for all that, a study recently carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists for Sun Awareness Week found eight out of ten people are failing to apply sunscreen before going out in the sun.
It’s not just on a beach that we need sun cream – you should be wearing it for any activity where you’ll be out in the sun for more than a few minutes, including gardening, walking, and reading the paper in the garden.
It’s a common myth that you’re only at risk of developing skin cancer if you burn. It’s just that – a myth.
While it is true that tanning the skin and sunburns can increase the risk of skin cancer – a painful sunburn every two years can triple the risk of melanoma – you still expose yourself to risk even when you don’t burn.
Be skin cancer aware
Although skin cancer is more common in people with fair hair and those with moles, it can affect anyone.
It’s a serious cancer and is most treatable when spotted early. People of all skin colours should be vigilant about checking moles and noticing changes. Remember the ABCDE Rule:
- A – Asymmetrical. Look for moles that are asymmetrical in shape, where one half is different from the other.
- B – Irregular border. Is the mole scalloped, jagged or poorly defined?
- C – Colour. Is the colour different from one area to another, showing different shades of tan, brown or black?
- D – Diameter. Is the mole bigger than 7mm?
- E – Evolving. Is the mole changing size, shape or colour?
If you notice any new moles or changes to existing moles, visit your GP. Many dermatologists also offer a mole screening service.
Mole removal is often as simple as a quick, painless and non-invasive biopsy.
Are you sun safe? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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