Take care in the sun

Look­ing like a lob­ster isn’t pretty. It’s also putting you at risk of long term skin dam­age. Fol­low some sim­ple pre­cau­tions and stay healthy

EADT Suffolk - - Health & Wellbeing -

IT’S sum­mer, it’s sunny (a lot of the time), which means ev­ery­one needs to be aware of just what that means for their skin.

Back in the day, a sun tan was a must-have fash­ion item. Now, while we still like to have a healthy glow, most peo­ple un­der­stand that bak­ing our­selves un­der the sun’s harm­ful rays is ask­ing for trou­ble. Too much ul­tra­vi­o­let (UV) ra­di­a­tion from the sun or sunbeds is the main cause of skin can­cer. In the UK more than eight in 10 cases of melanoma, the most se­ri­ous type of skin can­cer, could be pre­vented through en­joy­ing the sun safely and not us­ing sunbeds. There are two main types of UV rays that dam­age skin. Both can cause skin can­cer. UVB is re­spon­si­ble for the ma­jor­ity of sun­burns. UVA pen­e­trates deep into the skin, age­ing it.

WHAT IS SUNBURN?

Sunburn is a sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been dam­aged by too much UV ra­di­a­tion. Get­ting sun­burnt, just once every two years, can triple your risk of melanoma skin can­cer. And it doesn’t have to be raw, peel­ing or blis­ter­ing. If your skin has gone pink or red in the sun, it’s sun­burnt. For peo­ple with darker skin, it may just feel ir­ri­tated, ten­der or itchy.

If you no­tice your skin be­com­ing pink or red, you should get out of the sun and cover up to help stop any more dam­age. Putting on more sun­screen won’t help and won’t let you safely stay out in the sun for longer.

Af­ter-sun lo­tion can help sun­burnt skin feel bet­ter, but it can’t re­pair DNA dam­age.

CAN SKIN CAN­CER SPREAD?

Melanoma and non-melanoma skin can­cers can be in­va­sive. As well as grow­ing across the sur­face of the skin, tu­mours can some­times grow down through the lay­ers of skin. If a tu­mour grows through the wall of a blood or lymph ves­sel, can­cer cells can break off and spread to other parts of the body. What­ever your age, the best way to en­joy the sun safely and pro­tect your skin from sunburn is to use a com­bi­na­tion of shade, cloth­ing and sun­screen.

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