Tag Archives: Skin

A sun tan can come with skin cancer

Sun Awareness Week, promoted by the British Association of Dermatologists (with a web address you couldn’t better – www.bad.org.uk) took place in May, a sure sign that summer is here.

Skin cancer

To drum up publicity for the event BAD is promising that a major new study would reveal ‘shock findings into Britain’s attitudes towards skin cancer’. All very dramatic, but a good reminder that there are more consequences from over-exposure to sunshine than the red tingly pain of sunburn (not forgetting the suntan).

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer and is caused by too much exposure to UV light. It can occur on any part of the body, but is occurs most often on areas of skin exposed to sunlight. Possible signs to look out for include a scab or sore that won’t heal or a flesh coloured pearly lump that won’t go away.

Prevention is better than cure, so head down to your nearest pharmacy to get some factor 30 – and keep your t-shirt on!

Time to ‘slip slop slap’

‘Slip slop slap’ has entered the national lexicon as a reminder to use a sunscreen when outdoors during the summer. The original campaign using the phrase was launched in Australia in 1981 (you can watch the original TV clip with Sid the Seagull here).

Skin cancer

Sunscreens – and there are a wide variety available from the pharmacy – help prevent the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation from reaching the skin. Two types of UV – UVA and UVB – damage the skin and increase your risk of skin cancer. UVB is the chief culprit behind sunburn, while UVA rays, which penetrate the skin more deeply, are linked to the ageing effects of sunshine

The sun protection factor (SPF) in a sunscreen is a measure of the protection you get from UVB. You should always use a product with SPF15 or higher. If it takes 20 minutes for your unprotected skin to start turning red, using an SPF 15 sunscreen theoretically prevents reddening for 15 times longer — about five hours.

But in real life no sunscreen, regardless of strength, will stay effective for more than two hours without reapplication. Also, reddening of the skin is a reaction to UVB rays alone and tells you little about what UVA damage you may be getting. So slip, slop, slap!