Prevention is Better than Cure

July 3, 2024| Current Issue, Editorial

Stay Safe in the Sun

By Sophia Wyatt, Clinic Director – Sophia Wyatt Skin Clinic & Send Therapy Rooms

As the summer holidays approach and many of us are looking forward to enjoying the sun, whether here at home or in warmer climates, we thought it would be helpful to share some tips on keeping our skin healthy. We’ve reached out to Sophia Wyatt, an ambassador for ‘Skcin’ (the skin cancer charity) and owner of a skin clinic in Send, to get her expert advice.

Skin cancer rates are rising faster than any other cancer, with melanoma, the deadliest form, becoming one of the most common cancers in 15-34 year-olds. The encouraging news is that over 80% of skin cancers are preventable. By following five simple steps and being sun savvy, we can almost entirely avoid skin cancer, underscoring the importance of taking sun safety seriously.

We all enjoy the sun for its mood-lifting benefits and essential role in vitamin D synthesis, but it’s crucial to enjoy it safely to prevent skin damage. This damage ranges from premature aging to skin cancer. Alarmingly, a single case of severe sunburn in childhood or adolescence can more than double the risk of developing melanoma later in life. Therefore, the key message is to be aware, practice sun safety, and avoid burning.

Look after your skin – stay safe in the sun!

It’s not just sunbathing that puts you at risk; any time spent in the sun without adequate protection can be harmful. If you frequently participate in outdoor hobbies or sports or work outdoors, your risk increases. Always use the Five S’s of Sun Safety and never burn!

The Five S’s of Sun Safety:

  1. SLIP on a T-shirt
  2. SLOP on SPF 30+ broad-spectrum UVA sunscreen
  3. SLAP on a broad-brimmed hat
  4. SLIDE on quality sunglasses
  5. SHADE from the sun whenever possible

1 Slip on a t-shirt

  • UV-protective clothing is one of the best defenses against the sun’s UV rays.
  • Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible, particularly the shoulders, which can easily burn.
  • Choose garments with a tight weave for better protection.
  • High UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) rated fabrics provide the best defense.

2 Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen

  • No sunscreen offers complete protection; do not rely on it alone.
  • Always use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above, preferably water-resistant.
  • Ensure it carries a UVA symbol or has at least a 4-star rating.
  • Store sunscreen in a cool, accessible place and check the expiry date.
  • Apply generously to clean, dry, exposed skin 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply once outdoors.
  • Reapply at least every two hours, more often if swimming or sweating.
  • Protect your lips with an SPF 30+ lip balm.

3 Slap on a broad-brimmed hat

  • Wear a hat with a wide brim that shades your face, neck, and ears.
  • Legionnaire hats (with a neck flap) or bucket hats (with a 7.5cm brim) are most effective.
  • Choose hats with a tight weave or UPF-rated fabric.
  • Avoid baseball caps as they do not protect the ears and neck.

4 Slide on quality sunglasses

  • UV radiation can damage the eyes, so wearing quality sunglasses is crucial.
  • Look for sunglasses with the European CE mark for safe protection.
  • High EPF (Eye Protection Factor) rated sunglasses offer the best protection.
  • Ensure they fit well and wrap around to prevent UV rays from entering from the sides or top.
  • The price and darkness of the lens do not correlate with the level of UV protection.

5 Shade from the sun when possible

  • Seek shade whenever possible, especially between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. when UV rays are strongest.
  • Keep babies and toddlers in the shade at all times.
  • Use shade in conjunction with other protective measures for optimal protection.
  • By incorporating these sun safety practices into your daily routine, you can significantly reduce the risk of skin damage and skin cancer. For more information and advice on sun safety, Skcin the Skin Cancer Charity

Enjoy the Sun Responsibly!

Understanding and implementing these sun safety tips is essential for everyone – men, women, and children alike. The sun’s rays can be harmful, but with proper precautions, you can enjoy its benefits while minimising risks.

Remember, prevention is always better than cure. Stay safe, be sun smart, and protect your skin for a healthier future.

Sophia Wyatt
Skcin Ambassador
Clinic Director

Sophia Wyatt Skin Clinic and Send Therapy Rooms

M 07951 880600
T 01483 225685

Send Therapy Rooms
175 Send Road, Send GU23 7ET