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Sun Basics

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There are several ways you can protect yourself from the sun.

Wear a sunscreen on exposed skin all year round.

The seasons are always changing, but whether it is autumn, winter, spring or summer, the sun is always there and therefore we are exposed to Ultraviolet radiation. The sun does not need to be burning hot, like it is during the summer, but even on a winter's day, the sun can peep through the clouds. Even when the sun isn't shining, we are at risk of harmful UV rays, so it is important to protect our skin all year round.

Try using a fake tan, instead of a sunbed.

Sunbeds provide artificial UV radiation and even if used occasionally, may be harmful. Also, a sunbed tan does not protect your skin from the UV radiation of natural sunlight.

Commonly, sunbeds are used before going on holiday to give a little skin protection. But, a sunbed tan does not protect your skin from the UV radiation of natural sunlight. It is a mistake to think that sunbeds are a safe alternative to conventional tanning, as a recent study showed that the average sunbed now carries the same cancer risk as the midday sun in the Mediterranean. The study also found that sunbeds produce UVB levels that exceed the European standard. UVB is considered to be dangerous and is linked with skin cancer. (British Journal of Dermatology Aug 2007).

Sunbeds provide artificial UV radiation and even if used occasionally, may be harmful and research has shown an increased risk of skin cancer in people who have used a sunbed and a higher risk in people who have used a sunbed more often, over a longer period of time and also people who have started using a sunbed at a younger age.

In the last few years fake tan has really improved, providing a range from a natural glow through to a deep tan and all streak free. So there is no excuse not to fake it.

Self Skin Check

Regular self skin examinations are advisable. Perform a self skin examination monthly and report any significant changes in moles or new moles. Arrange to have a skin examination regularly if you have lots of moles, unusual looking moles or previous skin cancer.

Follow the SunSmart Code:

  • Stay in the shade between 11-3pm - when the sun is most dangerous
  • Make sure you never burn - sunburn can double your risk of skin cancer
  • Aim to cover up in the sun - sunscreen is not enough. Shirt, hat and sunglasses
  • Remember to take extra care with children - Childrens' skin is very sensitive
  • Then use sunscreen - Factor 15+ and reapply often

Sun Screen

The effectiveness of sunscreen is helped by applying regularly, every 2-3 hours, 30-40 minutes before going out in the sun and using an SPF minimum 15 and with a minimum 4 star rating. The 4 stars give you equal protection against the harmful UVA and UVB rays. Increase the factor for children - SPF25-30 and keep babies out of the sun. Check your sunscreen to make sure you are getting maximum protection.

 
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