The summer days are upon us, and so are the warm and wonderful (yet damaging) rays of the sun.
It is also Skin Cancer Awareness Month, which aims to build awareness about the importance of caring for your skin and avoiding damage from harmful UV rays which can lead to skin cancer.
According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA) skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, with about 20 000 cases of skin cancer being reported annually, and approximately 700 deaths occurring from skin cancer in South Africa each year. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that between two and three million non-melanoma skin cancers and approximately 132 000 malignant melanomas occur globally every year.
Here are some guidelines to help you stay safe in and out of the sun this season!
- Wear protective clothing. If possible, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts, and hats. Hats with wide brims not only cover your face, but they also protect other easy-to-forget spots like your ears and your scalp.
- Make sunglasses your favourite accessory. Sunglasses shield your eyes from UV rays that can cause eye problems, like cataracts. Pricey sunglasses don’t guarantee better protection. Look for a pair that says it blocks 99% or 100% of UVB and UVA rays.
- Limit your sun time, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. That’s when the sun’s rays are at their strongest. Plan your outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon. You can also find or create shade during those hours. At the park? Sit under a tree. At the beach? Bring a beach umbrella. Just a regular day? Plan indoor lunch breaks or schedule nap times during those hours.
- Use sunscreen and use it right. UV rays can damage your skin in as little as 15 minutes. To protect your skin, put sunscreen on every part of your body that will be exposed to the sun at least 15 minutes before going outside, even if it’s cloudy out. Sunscreen is most effective when used with other sun protection methods, like those mentioned above. Xeroderm SPF 40 is a broad-based sunscreen, which protects from both UVA and UVB rays of the sun.
- Say no to tanning. There’s no such thing as a safe tan, whether you’re inside or outside. It’s a myth that indoor tanning is a safer alternative to sun tanning. Tanning beds, tanning booths, and sunlamps expose you to intense UV radiation, which increases your risk of skin cancer and skin damage.
- Give up the vitamin D excuse. Tanning isn’t a safe way to get vitamin D. If you’re concerned about your vitamin D levels, talk to your doctor about the sources that are best for you.
- Get to know your skin. Skin cancer is easier to treat when caught early, so get to know your skin and watch for changes. Look for new skin markings, like moles, bumps, scaly spots, or places where your skin has changed colour. Watch moles for changes in size, texture, colour, or shape. Take note if a mole has uneven edges, differences in colour, or one half that is different than the other. You can also watch for moles, sores, or growths that continue to bleed, won’t heal, or look different from any other growth you may have. Talk to your doctor if you notice any of these changes.
Here are some summer reminders to keep safe:
And don’t forget to keep the kids safe in the sun. All of these tips are important for them, including hats and sunglasses. Just as sun damage to our skin starts when we are young, so can safe sun habits.
So while we all planning our December holidays and getting those cute outfits for the little ones, let’s not forget Xeroderm SPF40 for the whole family. Whether your family is heading down to the beach, the mountains or spending time in nature, practicing safe sun protection is essential. Keeping your child’s precious skin nourished and protected this summer… After all you only get one skin