All this gorgeous weather continues to grace us here in Ireland, every man, woman and dog are lapping up the sun, as they should be! The sun has so many wonderful benefits. Its Vitamin D is great for our mentality, bones and overall health, while the heat and sunshine itself puts a spring in all of our steps. But, like most things in life, the positives come with some negatives. We’re all made aware since a young age, that the UV rays that radiate from the sun are extremely dangerous to the skin, however, so many people still ignore this and it’s definitely not okay. Staying safe in the sun is so quick and simple to do and can literally be a life-saver in the long run, so today’s post is dedicated to reminding everyone to do just that.
Getting The Facts
Although there are many different types of skin cancer, non-melanoma is the most common and most recognised one so let’s focus on that for a minute. Anyone of any age or nationality can develop Melanoma but certain factors do put you at higher risk;
- Males are more likely to develop this particular type of cancer
- Number of moles on the body (both normal and atypical)
- Fair skin, freckles and light hair
- A family history of melanoma
- As you get older you develop a higher risk
- Having xeroderma pigmentosum, a rare hereditary defect of the enzyme system that repairs skin after UV exposure
Non-melanoma skin cancer is THE most common form of cancer in Ireland, with 8,000 diagnoses in 2009. Although if diagnosed in Stage I it can have a 90-100% cure rate, if not caught early it’s often fatal and regardless of the stage, you can be left with some horrifying scars and disfigurements for life. The main symptom is a change in the skin, in particular a mole or lesion changing shape, colour or weeping pus/bleeding. It’s KEY to monitor any existing moles or lesions for changes, but also be vigilant of new ones that form. Even if you think it’s a very small change, it’s better to be safe so don’t hesitate to visit your doctor if you have any concerns, early diagnosis of skin cancer in particular can make a massive difference.
Even if you aren’t affected by skin cancer during your lifetime, the sun can also have less dangerous, but nonetheless still nasty effects on our skin. If you see a woman in her late 30’s to early 50’s with premature crow’s feet, bags and sun spots, you can be sure she didn’t protect her skin properly again UV when she was in her teens and 20’s. None of us want to age prematurely so keep wrinkles at bay for as long as naturally possible by taking the time to find some moisturisers, serums and makeup products that contain SPF. Most foundations by L’Oreal, Smashbox and Revlon contain SPF of between 10-25 and it’s very easy to pick up skincare products infused with this protection also.
There’s absolutely no excuse for not wearing SPF in this day and age with the massive variety on the market. Personally, I’m fair but not incredibly pale and I have a lot of freckles on my arms and some on my face so I usually go for SPF 30. This Malibu Lotion Spray is perfect as it’s fast-drying, smells greats and water resistant, ideal for holidays. This little tube from Banana Boat is really handy for using on your face and carrying with you to top up throughout the day.
I know some sun protection brands are quite expensive but places like Dealz, Penneys and TK Maxx are generally very cheap and Boots always have great offers during the summer months. The key places to protect that are often neglected are the nose, ears and neck. In particular, bad sunburn to the next can cause sunstroke so don’t cut any corners!
If It Happens, It Happens
Even the most careful people can get sunburned. The sun can be deceiving, particularly at the coast where the sea breeze often masks how hot the sun actually is. If you do end up getting burned, acting fast is key in preventing peeling and rawness. A good moisturisng After Sun like this one from Malibu will cool and hydrate your skin so lash it on like there’s no tomorrow. Pure aloe vera and live yoghurt are also fantastic natural healers. It’s so important to stay hydrated after being out in the sun, particularly if you’ve gotten a bit burnt. Consume lots of water, stay in the shade and cover the parts that are burned with some breathable clothing until the redness reduces.
Fake it, Don’t Bake it!
With the vast range of self tanners available today, there’s really no need to put your skin and health at risk for a bronze glow. Above are my top three self tanners from Bellamianta and Tantastic, all give a gorgeous summer glow and are 100% safe. The two Bellamianta ones are even water-resistant so you can swim in the sea or splash in the pool and still maintain that stunning bronzed look. You can purchase from both brands HERE;
So what are you waiting for? Stock up on your SPF, read up on the dangers of UV and skin cancer, get your glow on with some super safe self tanners and go enjoy the beautiful sunshine in the smartest, safest way there is!