SKIN CANCER PREVENTION & SUN PROTECTION
- Choose a sunscreen offering SPF 50 + and broad spectrum protection and water resistant for at least two hours.
- Apply the sunscreen in sufficient quantity to benefit from the maximum protection level it offers. Apply A teaspoonful to seven body points – head/neck, both shoulders/arms, back, torso and the top of both legs – prior to spreading. Fully effective coverage demands around 35mls.
- You can also use spray on sunscreen and ensure you cover every bit.
- Apply a sunscreen fifteen minutes before sun exposure. Re-apply every two hours and immediately after swimming.
- Wear clothing and swimwear offering UPF 50+ protection. Cover up as much of the body as possible.
- Choose broad-brimmed hats and legionnaire style headwear rather than caps offering UPF 50+ protection.
- Choose wrap-around sunglasses with polarised lenses.
- Stay in the shade or under shadecloth when the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm during daylight saving and between 10am and 2pm during the rest of the year.
- Remember that whilst cloud blocks out sunlight it does not block UV radiation
Overexposure to ultraviolet radiation can cause sunburn and some forms of skin cancer by damaging the DNA in our skin cells. The main damage caused by UV radiation is to the skin, but other parts of the body can also be affected.
High intensities of UVB light are hazardous to the eyes and exposure can cause welder’s flash (photokeratitis or arc eye) and may lead to cataracts, pterygium, and pinguecula formation; these are tissue growths that grow to cover the eye, and are probably the body’s mechanism of protecting the eye from further damage.
Sunburn is your body’s reaction to excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. The top layers of your skin release chemicals that cause your blood vessels to expand and leak fluids, causing inflammation, pain, and redness. Without protection, UV radiation (both UVA and UVB) will immediately start to penetrate deep into the layers of your skin and damage the skin’s cells. Skin turns red within two to six hours of being burnt and will continue to develop for the next 24 to 72 hours.Sunburned skin may also start to peel as it heals. Peeling occurs when damaged skin cells self-destruct and peel off in tatty sheets. This is the body’s way of getting rid of damaged skin cells that have the potential to develop into cancers. Repeated sunburn increases your risk of developing melanoma. All types of sunburn, whether serious or mild, can cause permanent and irreversible skin damage and further sunburn only increases your risk of skin cancer.
INCIDENTAL SUN ACCUMULATES
It is vital, especially in Australia, to have a lifelong protection routine which limits your skin’s exposure to the UV radiation in sunlight. The deleterious effects of UV radiation exposure are cumulative throughout your life meaning that the main cause of skin cancer in later life can often date back to childhood, when the skin is most susceptible to UV radiation damage. Personal protection routines should comprise use of sunscreens, wearing sun protective clothing, head-wear and eyewear, making optimum use of areas protected by shade or shadecloth and staying out of the sun as much as absolutely possible during its periods of maximum intensity. eg. 10am – 3pm.