This week is Sun Awareness Week – a wellbeing event organised by the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD).
While there are many positives to being out in the sun – building up vitamin D for strong bones, boosting our mood and even alleviating symptoms of depression, there are also risks of over exposure.
Sun Awareness Week, running from the 13th to 19th of May, aims to provide the public with information on both skin cancer prevention – encouraging people to regularly self-examine for skin cancer. And detection – teaching people about the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning.
Our Top Tips
Sunscreen – The most common and easily accessible method to prevent sun damage to your skin is sunscreen. Make sure that you purchase a good quality sunscreen that protects you from both UVA and UVB radiation, and has a minimum SPF of 30. If you know you will be encountering water, ensure that your sunscreen is water resistant.
Apply it properly – You should make sure that you apply the sunscreen at least 30 minutes before you go outside. This will allow your skin to fully absorb the lotion. Reapply sunscreen to your exposed skin every two hours.
Sunglasses – Research has found that 5-10% of skin cancers occur on the eyelid. When buying sunglasses, look out for indicators of high quality and safe glasses such as the ‘CE Mark’, UV 400 label, or ‘100% UV protection’ written on the label or sticker.
Correct clothing – Darker clothes with tightly woven fabric will give you more protection from the sun. Look for clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) on the label. A UPF of 40 or higher means that your clothes will absorb or reflect at least 97% of UV light.
Hydration – Being dehydrated may not be as visible as sunburn, but it can be just as dangerous. If you are exposed to a hot climate, you are at a greater risk of becoming dehydrated and developing heat stroke. Avoid this by drinking at least 2 litres of water a day and try not to consume alcohol or caffeine.
Remember, sun damage is cumulative – it builds up over time, particularly if you’ve had multiple severe sunburns. Damaging your skin now can possibly lead to health risks later in life.
If you feel as though you are concerned with your exposure to the sun, or if you have any other wellbeing concerns, please call our helpline on: