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Navigating Suncare to Prevent Skin Cancer

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In the radiant embrace of the sun, there lies both warmth and caution. While enjoying the outdoors, it's important to focus on sun protection not only for a nice tan but, most importantly, for our health. In this guide, we'll explore the relationship between sun care and skin cancer. We highlight protective measures that can greatly lower the risk of this serious and potentially life-threatening condition.

What is skin cancer?

The two common types of skin cancer are, non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma skin cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancer, also known as keratinocyte cancer, is one of the most common cancers globally. Each year in Ireland, over 13,000 people get diagnosed with it.

Non-melanoma skin cancer affects more men than women and is more common in people aged 65 and above. Plus, it's worth noting that non-melanoma skin cancer is much more prevalent than melanoma skin cancer.

Understanding the Sun's Role in Skin Cancer:

  • UV Rays and DNA Damage: Spending too much time in the sun's UV rays can harm the DNA in skin cells, causing mutations that could lead to skin cancer.
  • Types of Skin Cancer: The most common kinds of skin cancer are called basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma. Each has its own characteristics and levels of severity.

Sunscreen as a Shield:

  • Broad-Spectrum Protection: Sunscreen is a frontline defender against harmful ultraviolet UV rays. Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30 to ensure comprehensive protection.
  • Regular Application: Applying sunscreen consistently and generously. Especially during the sun's peak hours, greatly lowers the risk of sun damage to the skin from UV radiation.
  • Water Resistance: Look for water-resistant formulas to maintain protection during activities such as swimming or exercising.

Importance of Early Detection:

  • Regular Skin Checks: Check your skin regularly for any changes in moles, freckles, or the appearance of new growths.
  • Professional Skin Exams: Schedule routine skin examinations with a dermatologist. Particularly if you have a history of sun exposure or a family history of skin cancer.

Sun-Smart Lifestyle Choices:

  • Avoiding Sun During Peak Hours: Minimise direct sun exposure. Particularly between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., when UV rays are strongest.
  • Protective Clothing: Wear clothing with a tight weave and a wide-brimmed hat to shield the head and neck from direct sunlight.
  • Eye Protection: Wear sunglasses with UV protection to shield your eyes from harmful UV rays. This lowers the risk of eye-related problems.

Educational Initiatives and Resources:

  • Raising Awareness: Get involved and raise awareness about the dangers of excessive sun exposure and the importance of suncare.
  • Accessible Information: Leverage educational resources from reputable sources, like LloydsPharmacy, to stay informed about the latest developments in suncare and skin cancer prevention.
  • Irish Cancer Society: For more information on Skin Cancer or to see the support services available, visit Irish Cancer Society.

As we cherish the warmth of the sun, let's do so responsibly. Suncare is not just about preventing sunburns; it's a crucial step in minimising the risk of skin cancer. UVA and UVB rays can damage the skin over time, increasing the risk of developing skin cancers.

By following the SunSmart code, using protective measures, and staying informed, we can enjoy the sun's beauty while keeping our skin safe and maintaining our overall health. Remember, a little suncare today can go a long way in ensuring a healthier tomorrow. Visit your local LloydsPharmacy where our experienced team can help you choose the right sun protection for you.