Pro­tect your skin from the ef­fects of the sum­mer sun

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR BODY -

Sum­mer is a great time of year when we can all re­ally en­joy the heat of the sun and make the most of the great out­doors. How­ever if we are not care­ful the sun can be harm­ful and the ul­travi­o­let ra­di­a­tion from the sun can age the skin pre­ma­turely, and cause sun­burn as well as skin can­cer.

Sun­burn can hap­pen very quickly, within 15 min­utes of be­ing in the sun, de­pend­ing on the time of day and skin type. Some peo­ple, es­pe­cially those with pale skin and red or blonde hair, do not tan well and are at much greater risk of sun­burn.

Signs and symp­toms of sun­burn in­clude red­ness of the skin and pain. The skin may feel hot to touch and can also be blis­tered. If the sun­burn is se­vere there can also be fever, nau­sea and vom­it­ing, and hos­pi­tal care may be needed. We all know get­ting sun burnt is bad, but most peo­ple still think a tan is okay. The re­al­ity is that tanned skin is dam­aged skin and we should pre­vent dam­age to our skin from oc­cur­ring.

Be Sun­Smart, and look for the Sun Pro­tec­tion Alert, which gives you the time pe­riod each day when you need to use sun pro­tec­tion in your area. Check out your daily news­pa­per or MetSer­ to see th­ese times daily.

Your Self Care phar­ma­cist can also let you know and can dis­cuss sun pro­tec­tion with you. Re­mem­ber that the Sun Pro­tec­tion Alert is im­por­tant even on days that are over­cast and cooler, as sun­burn can still hap­pen when the day is cloudy and not as sunny and hot. To pro­tect against sun­burn: Slip on some pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, such as long sleeves, trousers or skirts

Slop on sun­screen, SPF30 or higher and ap­ply to all ar­eas that haven’t been cov­ered up Slap on a wide brim hat Wrap on a pair of sun­glasses to pro­tect your eyes

Stay in the shade and out of the sun, es­pe­cially when the sun is strong­est

What sun­screen should I choose? Broad spec­trum sun­screens pro­tect from both UV A and UV B ra­di­a­tion and is rec­om­mended as are sun­screens with higher sun pro­tec­tion fac­tors (SPF) e.g. SPF30. If you have sen­si­tive skin try dif­fer­ent sun­screens un­til you find one that is suit­able for your skin type. Self Care phar­ma­cists are able to ad­vise on the sun­screen prod­uct that is the most suit­able for you and your fam­ily.

How much sun­screen do I need to use? Self Care Phar­ma­cists rec­om­mend at least one tea­spoon for each arm and leg and half a tea­spoon for your face, nose, ears and neck. More peo­ple get sun­burned on their face and neck than any other part of the body, so ap­ply well in th­ese ar­eas and don’t for­get the ears! Ap­ply sun­screen 15 to 20 min­utes be­fore go­ing out­doors and re-ap­ply of­ten (ev­ery 2 hours). This needs to be done even if it isn’t sunny, as the sun­screen gets worn off, or rubbed off and comes off af­ter swim­ming.

Look af­ter your sun­screens. Just like our skin, sun­screens ‘age’ in the sun and heat, and their UVpro­tect­ing prop­er­ties can be de­stroyed. So don’t leave them in the sun, or in the car’s glove box for too long. Also, don’t keep them past their ‘use by’ dates as they do lose their ef­fec­tive­ness.

Be­ing sun­burnt of­ten and be­ing se­verely sun­burnt can in­crease your risks of get­ting skin can­cer, but the ma­jor­ity of skin can­cer can be pre­vented by sun pro­tec­tion. Skin can­cers can be de­tected early by reg­u­lar self skin ex­am­i­na­tion and also skin checks by a trained health prac­ti­tioner. Look out for any new growths, changes in size and shape or if you are at all

A bad case of sun­burn has re­sulted in peel­ing and dam­age to the skin.

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