Sun Awareness

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Nobody wants to spend the entire summer indoors, and some sunshine can be good for us, helping the body to create vitamin D and giving many of us a feeling of general wellbeing as we enjoy outdoor activities.
There are ways to get a healthy tan and look after your skin at the same time, so when you are out and about in the sun this summer, here are a few safety tips

Slip on a shirt – Cover up with clothing and don’t forget to wear a hat that protects your face, neck and ears.

Seek out shade – The sun is at its hottest between the hours of 11am and 3pm.

Step out of the sun – before your skin has a chance to burn, no one likes the lobster look.

Slap on sun screen – Don’t forget to slap it on often when you are out in the sun. Look for a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 15 or more as it protects against UVA and UVB, oil is for cooking not for your skin.

When using sunscreen remember – it is a common myth that when your skin gets a tan, you can swap to a sunscreen with a lower sun protection factor.

Check your skin

It is important that you are aware of the marks on your skin so that you can look out for any changes. Look for changed or newly formed moles or any skin discolouration. It is normal for new moles to appear until you are about 18 years old, the best way to check your skin is:

Look in the mirror and check out your upper body, checking your front and neck. Get a friend/parent to check your scalp and back too.

Check your arms and elbows, including underarms and hands.
Check out your lower body, checking the back and front and even between your toes

If there are any changes to your skin or you are unsure you should go and see your doctor.
……If in doubt, check it out.

Skin type

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK and the number of cases is rising at an alarming rate. The good news is that the majority of these cases could be prevented. Most skin cancers are caused by UV radiation from the sun. If we protect ourselves from the sun then we can reduce our risk. This is particularly important for young people whose skin is more delicate and easily damaged.

Sunburn in childhood can double your risk of skin cancer. You will not see the damage immediately because skin cancer can take years to develop.

Not everyone’s skin offers the same level of protection in the sun. That’s why you need to know your ‘skin type’.

Type I – Often burns, rarely tans. Tends to have freckles, red or fair hair, and blue or green eyes.

Type II – Usually burns, sometimes tans. Tends to have light hair, and blue or brown eyes.

Type III – Sometimes burns, usually tans. Tends to have brown hair and eyes.

Type IV – Rarely burns, often tans. Tends to have dark brown eyes and hair.

Type V – Naturally black-brown skin. Often has dark brown eyes and hair.

Type VI – Naturally black-brown skin. Usually has black-brown eyes and hair.

If you are type I and II you will need to take the most care in the sun, use a high SPF and UVA protection sun cream. If you are type V or VI you will generally only need to use protection when the sun is strong but even so make sure you still put sun cream on.

Never let your skin burn, whatever your skin type

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