Skin Cancer Prevention

What many people don’t understand is that heat and light are not necessarily an accurate indication of ultraviolet rays. Even though it may be hot and bright in summer during late afternoon, your chances of being burnt may be minimal. On the other hand, it may be cold and overcast at midday but the UV rating could be dangerously high. UV rays are the element responsible for burning and damaging the skin, with the majority of ultraviolet rays produced by the sun. Other harmful sources include solariums and welding which produce the severely damaging UVC; a short and intense UV wave.

Ultraviolet radiation rises slowly, beginning in the morning and climbing until reaching a peak in the middle of the day. It then declines gradually. The highest risk of skin damage from UV rays is between 11am and 3pm in the summer months. During these hours the safest option is to remain out of the sun.


How to protect yourself from UV rays

Sunscreen: Be aware that sunscreen is ineffective for the first 15 minutes after application. It’s essential to re-apply every 2 hours and use a water resistant sunscreen if swimming.

Protective clothing: Wear a hat that covers ears and the back of your neck to provide adequate protection. A shirt or rash-vest is protective as long as it is made from a close-knit material so will be successful in blocking out the sun. You can test this by holding it up to the sun and ensuring an abundance of light is not shining through the material.

Seeking shade and being aware that sunlight reflecting off certain surfaces such as water, sand and snow is still able to burn and cause damage.

Staying indoors: If you can avoid being outdoors when the UV rating is high, do so. Prevention is better than cure.