Protecting your skin this summer

Protect yourself against harmful UV rays this summer

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, most usually caused by over-exposure to sunlight. UV light damages the DNA in our skin cells, resulting in skin cancer.

When we get sunburnt, the top layers of skin release chemicals that make blood vessels swell and leak fluids. The skin turns red and feels like it’s burning. In severe cases of sunburn, the skin can swell and blister. Even though the symptoms fade after a short while, long-lasting damage may have been caused.

Dr Giles Dunnill, consultant dermatologist at Spire the Glen Hospital Bristol, is holding a free patient information evening on Thursday 16th July 2015, 7-8pm about the dangers of increased contact with UV rays. Hosted by the hospital, the event will also provide guidance on how you can enjoy the sun whilst protecting your skin from deadly UV rays.

She says, “In Britain, we love the sunshine, but as our summers are often short lived, we tend to overdose on sun exposure when we do get some, often putting ourselves at risk of getting burnt or blistered.

“Here are my top tips for enjoying the summer without risking your skin’s health:”

1. Avoid sun exposure when the sun is at its highest point

The sun is at its strongest when it’s at the highest point in the sky which can be the most dangerous time of day to sunbathe. Take yourself indoors or into the shade from 11am until 3pm to avoid this time of day

2. Wear a sun lotion with the right amount of UV protection for you

Make sure the SPF in your sun cream is high enough for the level of exposure you will get – the fairer your skin the higher level of protection you will need. Factor 15 should be the absolutely minimum anyone should use

3. Apply your sun lotion frequently

Your sun cream can wear off throughout the day. Make sure you apply it frequently and definitely reapply after going in water – even if your lotion is water resistant!

 4. See your doctor if you’re concerned about a skin legion

If you have any unusual skin legions – particularly ones that change colour, bleed, are painful, flake or generally feel abnormal – that you’ve had for four weeks or more, book an appointment to see your GP. Not all cases will be skin cancer but it’s best to get checked out just to be sure

5. Wear a hat

As well as reducing your chances of suffering from sun stroke, a hat will also protect your scalp from getting burnt. Not many people think of their heads burning but as it can be tricky to apply sun cream to your head, it’s even more important to keep it covered up

6. Cover up

Keep yourself covered up when the sun is at its strongest – especially on your shoulders – an area that’s particularly susceptible to sun burn

To book your free place on the patient information event, please contact Spire The Glen Hospital Bristol on 0117 980 4080 or info@spirehospital.com

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© Spire Healthcare Group plc (2016)