Cancer of the skin is by far the most common of all cancers according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), and it is on the rise! Exposure to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays increases skin cancer risk, which can be dangerous and even deadly.
Too much exposure can also cause sunburn, eye damage, and premature wrinkles. Suffering one or more blistering sunburns in childhood or adolescence more than doubles a person’s chances of developing melanoma later in life.
Staying in the shade, shielding your skin with clothing, and using a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30 can help lower your risk.
Take these steps to stay sun-safe:
- Seek shade -limit your direct exposure to the sun, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
- Slip on sun protective clothing – wear clothing and a wide-brimmed hat to protect as much skin as possible. Protect your eyes with wrap-around sunglasses that block at least 99% of UV light.
- Slop on sunscreen – 20 to 30 minutes before going outside, use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30: Reapply at least every 2 hours, as well as after swimming or sweating.
- Check the UV Index – easily accessed on the home page of www.chc.bm, based on the UVI value of 1-11+ you can plan outdoor activities and practice appropriate sun protective measures.
- Avoid tanning beds and sunlamps: Both can cause serious long-term skin damage and contribute to skin cancer.
Additionally, DO NOT forget to stay hydrated and drink lots of water!
Choose a sunscreen that is:
- Broad-spectrum protection – against both UVA (contribute to skin cancer and premature aging) and UVB rays (main cause of sunburn).
- Sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. The higher SPF numbers mean more protection, but the higher you go, the smaller the difference becomes. For example, SPF 15 sunscreens filter out about 93% of UVB rays, while SPF 30 filters out about 97%. SPF 50 blocks about 98% and SPF 100 about 99%. No sunscreen protects you completely.
- Mineral-based physical sunscreens (containing zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are recommended over chemical based sunscreens (most other ingredients, potentially harmful ingredients that get absorbed into skin). However, the potential risk of not using sunscreen far outweighs the risks of using sunscreen, so any sunscreen is better than no sunscreen.
Remember sunscreen is not water or sweat proof, only water resistant. Sunscreen must be reapplied and products should specify whether it lasts for 40 minutes or 80 minutes while swimming or sweating.
To learn more book a SunSmart presentation for your organisation, school or sports group, call or email Azuree Williams, at 236-1001 ext.1005 or firstname.lastname@example.org or for more information, check out our website www.chc.bm.