Even one severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence more than doubles your chances of developing the deadliest form of skin cancer, Melanoma, later in life. If you have lots of moles or freckles, your risk of getting skin cancer is higher than average, so take extra care.
It is important to check your moles on a regular basis for any changes.
Key factors to keep in mind are asymmetry, borders, colour, diameter and evolution. If you have any concerns, be sure to speak to your general practitioner.
It is important to strike a balance between protecting yourself from the sun and getting enough vitamin D from the sunlight. Vitamin D has various important functions, including immune support, calcium and phosphorus absorption and retention, and boosting mood and brain function.
Tips for enjoying the sun safely this summer
- Choose sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of at least 30 to protect against UVB.
- Your sunscreen should have a 4-star UVA protection rating or more.
- Apply your sunscreen 30 minutes before going outside.
- Spend time in the shade, particularly from 11am to 5pm.
- Darker coloured clothing is best as these absorb more UV than lighter colours like whites and pastels. Additionally, a wet t-shirt offers much less UV protection than a dry one.
- Apply sunscreen to areas not protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, feet and backs of hands.
- Sunscreen should be reapplied straight after you have been in water, even if it’s “water resistant”, and after towel drying, sweating or when it may have rubbed off.
- Stay hydrated throughout the day.
- Take extra care with children, their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin. Damage caused by repeat sun exposure could lead to skin cancer developing in later life. Children aged 6 months should be kept out of direct strong sunlight.
- If possible, opt for ‘reef-safe’ sunscreen, as these can help protect our local marine ecosystems.
How to deal with sunburn
- Sponge sore skin with cool water, then apply soothing aftersun cream or spray, like aloe vera.
- Painkillers, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, will ease the pain by helping to reduce inflammation caused by sunburn.
- Stay out of the sun until all signs of redness have gone.