Each year the British Association of Dermatologist (BAD) run a national campaign around Skin Cancer and sun safety called Sun Awareness and this year the SSH team wanted to share this with you!
As the weather is starting to get better and the lifting of lockdown means we can all spend more time outside with our friends we also need to think about our health and wellbeing and our sun safety.
Common questions about sun safety:
What is a tan? The dark pigment that gives our skin its natural colour is called melanin. When our skin is exposed to sunlight more of this melanin is produced to absorb the UV radiation from the sun and so the skin becomes darker.
Why should we be careful? Too much unprotected exposure to sunlight (so no or low protection sunscreen) can cause skin damage, eye damage, weakened immune system and skin cancer due to the ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun.
How do sunscreens work? Sunscreen works by blocking and absorbing the harmful UV rays from the sun. By protecting our bodies from these harmful rays you can reduce the risk of skin problems such as skin damage and skin cancer.
What does SPF mean? SPF stands for ‘Sun Protection Factor’. You will see different sunscreens will have a different number on them. It is recommended by the NHS to use a sunscreen with at least SPF 30 protection and a 4-star UVA protection label on it too.
What about sunlight and vitamin D? It is also important for us to spend time outside with some sun exposure. This allows our bodies to make vitamin D which helps our bodies to absorb calcium for stronger and healthier bones. But importantly, it only takes a little time in the sun for our bodies to get the vitamin D they need.
Our top tips for staying safe and enjoying the sun:
- Protect your skin by wearing clothing, a hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes
- Between 11am -3pm it is most sunny, try to spend more time in the shade out of direct sunlight
- Use a high protection sunscreen of at least SPF 30 and make sure you apply it generously and frequently especially when you are in the sun or have just got out the sea or pool
- Babies and young children should be kept out of direct sunlight
If you do get sunburnt it is really important to keep yourself out of direct sunlight and well hydrated. Have a look at the NHS website for more information.
Enjoy your time in the sun but remember to stay sun safe!