Protect your skin from the effects of the summer sun
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 MetService.com 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.