Save your Skin against Skin Cancer
Avoiding skin damage in the hot sun is vital. Too much sun can cause sunburn, wrinkles, freckles, skin texture changes, dilated blood vessels, skin rashes and worst of all Skin Cancer.
The invisible sun rays, known as ultraviolet-A (UVA) and ultraviolet-B (UVB), cause most of the problems. Both cause suntan, sunburn, and Skin damage. Even on cloudy days UV radiation reaches the earth and can cause skin damage if your skin is not protected and you consistently expose your skin to these rays.
You should avoid peak sun hours, between 10am and 4pm, and you should dress appropriately. White loose-knit cotton and wet clothes offer little protection, so you should wear darker colours of tight weave clothing and a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses. Beach umbrellas and other kinds of shade are a good idea, but they do not provide full protection because UV rays can still bounce off sand and water.
Using sun block protection creams will help prevent skin damage and reduce the risk of cancer. You should use a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at the very least 15, even on cloudy days, including on the lips. Sunscreens work by absorbing, reflecting, or scattering the sun's rays on the skin. They are available in many forms, including ointments, creams, gels, lotions, sprays, and wax sticks. All are labeled with SPF numbers. The higher the SPF, the greater the protection from sunburn, caused mostly by UVB rays. Some sunscreens, called "broad spectrum," block out both UVA and UVB rays. Sunscreens should be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors. Water-resistant sunscreens should be reapplied about every two hours, after swimming or water sports such as Jet Skiing or Logging, or after activity (producing sweat moisture). Protecting children from the sun is especially important, as most of our lifetime exposure occurs before the age of 20.
Damage to the skin includes the following:
- Sunburn - There is no quick cure for minor sunburn, but cold, wet compresses, baths, and soothing lotions may provide some relief;
- Severe sunburn causes skin tenderness, pain, swelling, and blistering. If additional symptoms like fever, chills, upset stomach, and confusion occur, then it is likely to be serious sunburn and requires immediate medical attention;
- A tan is actually the result of skin injury, as tanning occurs when UV rays enter the skin and it protects itself by producing more pigment or melanin;
- Aging - People who work outdoors or sun bathe without sun protection can develop tough, leathery skin, making them look older than they actually are;
- The sun can also cause large freckles called "age spots," and scaly growths (actinic keratoses), that may develop into skin cancer. These skin changes are caused by years of sun exposure;
- Wrinkles are directly related to sun exposure and are intensified by smoking;
- Some people develop allergic reactions to the sun, which show up after only a short time in the sun. Bumps, hives, blisters, or red blotches are the most common symptoms of a sun allergy. Sometimes these reactions are due to cosmetics, perfumes, plants, topical medications, or sun preparations. Certain drugs, including birth control pills, antibiotics, blood pressure, arthritis, and depression medications can cause a skin rash with sun exposure. If you are on one or more of these medications, you should apply a much higher SPF sunscreen, or preferably, a total sun block;
- Some diseases can be made worse by the sun, including cold sores, chickenpox, and a number of less common disorders such as lupus erythematosus;
- UV rays also can cause cataracts;
- Skin cancer
More than 90 percent of all skin cancers occur on sun-exposed skin. The
face, neck, ears, forearms, and hands are where most cancers appear.
The three most common types of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma, and melanoma.
Basal cell carcinoma usually develops on the face, ears, nose, and around the mouth of fair-skinned individuals. It starts as a red patch or shiny bump that is pink, red, or white. It may be crusty or have an open sore that does not heal, or heals only temporarily. This type of cancer can be cured easily if treated early.
Squamous cell carcinoma starts as a scaly patch or raised, warty growth.
It also has a high cure rate when found and treated early. Rarely, if not
treated, it can be fatal.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It starts as a dark brown or black mole-like patch with irregular edges. Sometimes it is multicoloured with shades of red, blue, or white. This type of skin cancer can occur anywhere on the body and when found early, can be cured. If ignored, it spreads throughout the body and can be fatal.
By using a little common sense, as well as the guidelines issued by numerous health websites, you can safely work and enjoy the sunshine outdoors without worrying too much about ill-effects, and avoiding skin damage. Remember you only have one skin and to save it from skin cancer you must take adequate protection to prevent skin damage, unlike certain reptiles that can shed their skin for a new one we only have one chance and one skin so please keep it healthy and respect the power of the Sun even on hazy days. As the saying goes Save your Skin and live healthier and longer and look younger and not become a wrinkled old prune.