As we are experiencing one of the warmest summers on record, in Ireland, and while many jet off across the world for their summer holidays, we at Allcare wish to provide you with some tips necessary for staying safe in the sun. If you are basking in the sun this summer, please bear a thought for the damage that unprotected exposure may be doing to your skin.
How does the sun affect my health?
The sun has a significant effect on our health. In small doses, sun exposure can prove beneficial, as it provides us with vital vitamin D. It is no mystery that Irish people lack this essential vitamin. Although spending time in the sun may provide some benefits, for the most part, unprotected sun exposure is damaging for our health. Sunburn, the number one health risk involved with unprotected sun exposure, is experienced by the vast majority of Irish people, while holidaying abroad. Sun exposure without adequate protection allows harmful UVA and UVB rays to penetrate the skin, causing burns. Sunburn leads to a reddening of the skin and a burning sensation. The effects of sunburn include blisters, chills, nausea and headaches, to name but a few. At Allcare, our pharmacists are on hand to treat these symptoms, offering the bSatest medications available in Ireland. Those going in the sun should note that the prevention of sunburn is always more effective than treatment following a burn.
Is anything worse than sunburn?
Yes, burning is not the only risk involved with the sun. Unprotected sun exposure causes premature aging of the skin. Although no one wishes to age before their time, a much greater risk of unprotected sun exposure is that of skin cancer. UV rays from the sun cause a mutation in the DNA of skin cells. This radiation causes skin cells to behave unnaturally and can lead to death in many cases. According to the HSE, skin cancer is the most prevalent cancer found in Ireland today. To educate yourself on the risks involved with skin cancer, take a look at the HSE’s information page found here.
How can we protect ourselves from the sun?
It is essential that we protect ourselves from the sun’s harmful UV rays. In taking a few simple preventative measures you can adequately protect yourself from the dangers of the sun. A full overview of how to protect yourself from the sun, can be found in a post by the Irish Cancer Society. At Allcare we believe that by following our five tips for staying safe in the sun, you can enjoy the beautiful weather, while protecting your skin. Our tips are as follows:
1. Lash on the Sun Screen: Sun screen is crucial in the fight against skin cancer. It acts to protect the skin from ultraviolet radiation, through it’s active ingredients. When choosing a suitable sunscreen do not hesitate to speak with your Allcare Pharmacist, as they will have the best advice on what SPF (sun protection factor) to use and how often it should be applied.
2. Think of the Kids: While spending time in the sun, make sure to take care of young children first. Pay extra attention while by the pool or at the beach. Make sure kids stay covered in high SPF sunscreen. Children should also wear protective clothing while in the water. Remember, direct sunlight exposure is more harmful to children than adults. For more information on how to protect young children from the sun check out this post by the Irish Cancer Society.
3. Stay Covered Up: It is important that you dress to protect while going in the sun. Some clothes are better than others in offering sun protection. Check if your clothes have a UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) label. The UPF will give you an understanding of how well your clothes will protect you from UV rays. Always wear a hat and sunglasses and cover areas of the skin that are not usually exposed to the sun. These areas at the highest risk of getting burned.
4. Keep Track of Time: Try to avoid the sun during the middle of the day. Staying in the shade is essential between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm, when the sun is at its highest point. The time spent in direct sunlight should be limited. You should always have access to drinking water and a well-shaded area, while spending time in the sun.
5. Study Your Skin: Unlike other important organs, the skin is one that we can readily monitor and take care of with the naked eye. It is imperative that we know our own skin. Take time to monitor your skin. Moles are of most importance, as they can give medical professionals an insight into possible skin cancers and other sun related illnesses. If you notice any changes in size or colour of your moles, it is time to speak to your pharmacist or GP.
Stop by your local Allcare Pharmacy if you have any questions regarding staying safe in the sun. Find your local Allcare Pharmacy here.