‘Sun Awareness Week’, run by The British Association of Dermatologists is now up and running. The campaign itself is monitored by their skin cancer prevention committee which is derived of medical professionals who specialise in skin cancer, vitamin D & public health messaging.
Whilst we all enjoy our sunny days, we must also be cautious with how we expose ourselves to it. There are several precautions we can take when being out in the sun and the following tips can help in protecting your skin: As minimal as this may seem, wearing sunglasses can positively influence how the suns affects you. They serve from an ophthalmology perspective in that they protect your eyes from UV radiation. Sunglasses can aid in reducing the risk of you developing eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration due to overexposure of UV rays. The sun is usually at its most intense period of the day between 9am – 3pm so wearing your sunglasses during this time frame can provide for the best protection. Clothing is essential when being out in the sun to cover up your skin, especially the areas of your body that burn easily like your face, neck, and shoulders. Wearing dark or bright colours will absorb the sun's UV rays to stop them from being absorbed by your skin instead. The thicker the materials you wear the more protection they will serve. Denim, wool and synthetic fibers are wonderful examples to best protect yourself as opposed to the thinner materials that are available. Wearing accessories like hats can also aid with keeping these easily burned areas covered, not to mention there are some extremely fashion forward ones available on the market. Sunscreen also comes into play here and it is important to use types that contain a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 and above. Ensuring your sunscreen is waterproof is also something to look out for, even if you are not swimming this still helps to combat sweat when you are exposed to hot temperatures so that it does not come off easily as your day progresses. Many people make the mistake of applying sunscreen when they are already outside, however applying your sunscreen 30 minutes before leaving the house ensures your skin has enough time to absorb it all in. The amount you use is also often applied incorrectly; it is recommended that you apply roughly 35g of cream to your skin in each application and repeating these applications throughout the day is always advised every 2 hours. Not only does sunscreen help to reduce the risk of skin cancer but it also aids in preventing your skin from aging.
Seeking cover from the sun can give your skin a break from the heat, it only takes between 10 – 20 minutes for your skin to start burning. When shade is available to you it is always wise to keep cool within it, especially between the previously stated peak radiation times of 9am – 3pm. If you want more information or have any concerns regarding sun protection, please book an appointment with your dermatologist. Similarly, please contact your ophthalmologist if you have any questions surrounding the subject.