Risk from the Sun

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A sunny day makes most of us feel good, but too much strong sunlight can be damaging to the skin. The problem is caused by the ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sunlight.

A sunny day makes most of us feel good, but too much strong sunlight can be damaging to the skin. The problem is caused by the ultraviolet (UV) rays in the sunlight.

Dangers:

Short term: Sunburn can blister your skin and make it peel.  In the summer, even on a cloudy day enough UV ray can filter through to cause burning.

Long term: The most serious effect is an increased risk of skin cancer. Too much sun will also speed up the ageing process of your skin, making it feel leathery, mottled and wrinkled.

Who is at risk of skin cancer?
All of us but take particular care if you have:

  • Freckled or fair skin that doesn’t tan, or burns before it tans
  • Red or fair hair and light coloured eyes
  • A large number of moles

Should I protect myself?
Yes:  You should be particularly careful whilst you are outdoors in the sun especially around the middle of the day when the sun is at its most intense. Sunscreen creams and lotions with a high protection factor rating should be used at all times.

Check your skin
The first warning sign is often a small scabby spot which does not clear after a few weeks.  Look for changed or newly formed moles or any skin discoloration.  It is normal for moles to grow until you are about 18 years old, but as an adult you should show your doctor any moles which grow or change.

Fortunately, most of these signs will be harmless, but medical checks may be needed to be sure.  Even if a spot is cancerous, modern day treatments can usually cure it and most don’t spread to other parts of the body.  The smaller the spot the easier it is to cure.  Don’t put off going to the doctor when you know you should.

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