Sun Care – Protecting Your Skin From The Sun
Sunburn is skin damage caused by the sun, when the skin becomes red, sore, warm and tender.
‘I was asked by the young mum if there was anything in particular she should do to protect her young children as she was particularly worried about their fair young skin in the sun.’
Everyone who is exposed to sunlight is at risk of getting sunburn; however some people are more vulnerable than others. You are more likely to get sunburn if you:
- Have pale skin or freckles
- Have red or fair hair
- Are only exposed to sun occasionally when on holiday
- Are in a hot country where the sun is very intense
You aren’t just at risk of sunburn when the weather is hot and sunny; cloudy skies and cool breezes can make you underestimate how much sun you have been exposed to and light reflecting off snow or water can also cause sunburn.
While sunburn is usually short-lived and mild, it is important to try to avoid it as it can increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK. Each year around 2,000 people in the UK die from skin cancer.
Skin cancer is caused by damage from the sun’s UV rays, which penetrate deep into the skin and damage the skin cells. You can’t feel UV damaging your skin and it can happen even when the sun doesn’t feel hot.
Other longer term risks from sun exposure include premature aging of the skin and eye problems including cataracts.
Reducing the Risk of Sunburn
You can reduce your risk of sunburn by:
- Staying in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is strongest
- Covering up with loose clothing, a hat and sunglasses
- Using a sunscreen with a protection level of at least SPF15
- Applying sunscreen generously and regularly
Children and Suncare
Babies and young children are more sensitive to the effects of UV rays as their skin is more delicate. Extra care should be taken to protect their skin; the best way to do this is to keep them covered up and in the shade.
Children tend to spend more time outdoors, and overexposure to the sun at a young age will increase their risk of skin aging and skin cancer, even though this will only become apparent when they are older.
It is helpful to teach children the importance of protecting themselves from the sun, so encouraging frequent application of high protection sunscreen (SPF15 or higher) will help with this, particularly if you get them to help and do some of this with an adult.
It is important to remember that sun damage doesn't just happen on holiday or abroad. It can happen when you go for a walk or sit in your garden. Visit your local Alphega Pharmacy for advice on suncare and travel products.
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| Summer Health: Sun Care infographic |
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