'Remember to wear sunscreen when going outdoors.
As the country starts to re-open and we see sunnier days, everyone is reminded to protect themselves from skin cancer.
If you’re planning on playing tennis or golf, if your children are resuming outdoor sports training, or if you’re going on a trip to the zoo, don’t forget to be sun smart.
“Unless you are a vampire or a coal miner, put SPF on your face,” says skin therapist Gráinne Callaghan of Brightskin.ie.
“No matter how many times it’s said, people still don't realise that SPF must be worn EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. If someone asks me for an eye cream recommendation, or a mask recommendation, I won't give them one until they start using an SPF. It's really that important.”
“The sun releases different types of rays that penetrate through the earth's atmosphere and through our skin. UVB are the rays that will burn your skin when you're making sand castles in Bettystown on that one sunny day next July.
“UVA rays however are present all year round, and as the ray has a longer wavelength it can penetrate clouds and windows and makes its way into the lower layers of your skin.
“These UVA rays are responsible for the breakdown of collagen and elastin in the skin, making UV/light exposure the number one cause of aging.
But luckily this is an easy one to combat, wear a high quality SPF everyday to slow down this process of collagen destruction.”
Some of Gráinne's SPF recommendations include:
- If your skin is dry go for Ultraceuticals Hydrating SPF 30.
- For oilier complexions try La Roche-Posay Anthelios Anti-Shine Sun Cream Gel SPF50+ 50ml.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, with over 13,000 cases annually.
The number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer in Ireland is rising rapidly. It is generally classified into two groups: melanoma, which is the more aggressive form, and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Between 2020 and 2045, it is predicted that the number of cases of melanoma per year among males and females will increase by 67% and NMSC to increase by 110%.
UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun causes the DNA damage in our skin which can lead to skin cancer. UV is usually strongest between 11am and 3pm from April to September, even when it’s cloudy.
Protect your skin by following the SunSmart 5S’s of Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide:
Slip on clothing
Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves, collared t-shirts, clothes made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.
Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen
Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and water-resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade.
Slap on a wide-brimmed hat
Protect your face, ears and neck.
Sit in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
Slide on sunglasses
Guard your eyes against harm by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.
And remember: do not deliberately try to get a suntan. Avoid getting a sunburn. Never use a sunbed.
“With the new public health measures, people have more opportunity to enjoy getting outside,” Dr Triona McCarthy, Director of Public Health, HSE NCCP said.
“We want to remind everyone it is easy to enjoy the sun safely by following the SunSmart 5S’s to mind their skin and reduce their risk of skin cancer.”
Protect against bluelight
It's not only rays from the sun we need to worry about, recent research has found that blue light coming from screens such as our phones and laptops and any screen are causing damage to our skin cells through oxidative effects, which can lead to skin ageing and also increase the risk of skin cancer.
Apply your SPF daily whether hail or shine, summer or winter and protect your skin.
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