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National Skin Cancer Action Week - Prevention and Tips

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With 95% of all melanoma being linked to overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light, we probably don't need to convince you of the importance of sun protection. To help you enjoy a safe and hassle-free summer, here are some tips on how to protect yourself without having to stay inside all day. 

Barrier Protection

Light, breathable clothing will offer reliable protection that lasts all day without causing unnecessary sweating. Darker, tighter woven fabrics generally work best for this kind of job. Several clothing companies have come out with designs specifically for sun protection should you be unsure of what to wear.

For maximum protection, choose items that cover your torso, arms, and legs completely and combine them with closed shoes, a wide brimmed hat, and wrap around sunglasses. The sensitive skin around your eyes (including your eyelids) is particularly vulnerable. If you don't want to wear sunglasses all day, choose a hat with a brim of at least 8 centimetres. A brim of this size can block at least half of all UVB rays from your eyes and eyelids.

Slap on some Sunblock or Sunscreen

One of the complaints many people have about sunblocks is the consistency. As they work by creating a physical barrier between harmful UVB rays and your skin, they are usually quite thick in their consistency and leave a slight white film after application. They do, however, offer the best protection under harsh sunlight and are the better option for anyone who tends to stay active in the heat, as they are harder to sweat off. Sunblocks also don't have to be reapplied as often as sunscreens and there is no waiting time after application. If you're planning to go to the beach, find one that is water resistant.

Sunscreens are not greasy at all. In fact, you won't even remember you put them on shortly after application. However, after it’s applied, you should still wait for 30 minutes before exposing yourself to the sun. They are fine, if all you need is some protection on your way to and from work, but if you are planning on a day out, it's better to opt for a sunblock.

Whatever you decide, pick a broad spectrum SPF of at least 50 and reapply roughly every 2 hours. If you're unsure when to reapply, get one of those nifty UV ray monitoring stickers which will change colour and remind you when it is time for another round of sunscreen.

Always plan ahead

The impact exposure to UV light will have fluctuates throughout the day. It is commonly assumed that UV levels are highest between 10 am and 4 pm. During this time, it is wise to relocate your outdoor activities to shady spots or employ other modes of sun protection. The World Health organisation measures UV levels on a scale from 0 (low) to 11 (extreme), and recommends sun protection as soon as 3 or higher is reached. If you want to stay informed on what the UV levels in your area are at any given time, think about downloading the SunSmart app, which will tell when and for how long UV levels reach a point that requires extra protection, as well as how high the UV levels are expected to climb that day.

Regular skin checks are crucial for maintaining your skin health. Book an appointment with your nearest SunDoctors clinic today.

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