Britons are thoroughly enjoying the recent sunshine and hot weather in recent days and weeks. But the risk of skin damage and even cancer far outweighs taking a chance and not adequately protecting yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Express.co.uk shares some important ways you can protect your skin while still enjoying the glorious weather.
Protection from UV rays is extremely important all year round – just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the sun’s rays are not hitting your skin and causing damage.
UV rays from the sun can reach you on cloudy and hazy days, and they also reflect off of surfaces like water, cement, sand, and snow.
How does the Sun cause skin cancer?
Too much UV radiation from the Sun or sunbeds can damage the genetic material (the DNA) in your skin cells.
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If enough DNA damage builds up over time, it can cause cells to start growing out of control, which can lead to skin cancer.
Anyone can develop skin cancer, but some people can have a higher risk.
Preventing skin cancer is sadly not always possible. A combination of factors can increase the likelihood you will get it, and sometimes no matter what you do to protect yourself it can still happen.
However, Cancer Research UK has found that “in the UK almost nine in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely and avoiding sunbeds.”
The key to protecting yourself is to stay out of the sun – but a good knowledge of how your sun cream works is equally important.
Before choosing a sun cream, check its star rating.
Sun Protection Factor is always shown on the front of the product and is usually the main factor people consider when buying.
An SPF 30 allows about three percent of UVB rays to hit your skin, whereas an SPF of 50 allows about two percent of those rays through.
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This may seem like a small difference until you realize that the SPF 30 is allowing 50 percent more UV radiation onto your skin.
However, the star rating on a suncream is also extremely important, as this tells you how much UVA is absorbed by your suncream – you can usually find this on the back of the packaging.
This is as important as the SPF factor tells you how long it will protect you from the rays
Always apply to clean, dry skin around 30 minutes before heading out of the door.
When you need to reapply, you should head inside and apply a fresh coat, then wait half an hour before heading back out into the sun.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends a water-resistant, broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher for any extended time spent outdoors in the sunshine.
Suncream for children should always be higher than 50 SPF.
During the sun’s strongest hours, it is fine to go outside but regularly move out of the sun and have a break inside or under some shade.
If you feel yourself burning, abandon your sunbathing plans and head inside for the rest of the day.
It is also not true that only the most expensive suncreams will properly protect you from harmful rays – for example, Boots own brand Soltan suncream comes in a range of SPF factors and has a five-star rating – a 200ml bottle of SPF50 is £4.
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