There may be clouds in the sky but that doesn’t mean your skin is safe!
That’s the message skin experts are hoping to get across as summer approaches and people start shedding their shirts in an attempt to get their annual sun tan.
With both Skincare Awareness and Sun Awareness weeks taking place in May, Dermatologists are taking the opportunity to highlight the dangers of spending too much time in the sun.
And they are keen to point out that it doesn’t have to be ‘a scorcher’ before people should start taking protective action.
“When the sun is blazing everyone should know the drill by now,” explained Dr Manjit Kaur, a Consultant Dermatologist at Spire Little Aston Hospital in Sutton Coldfield .
“The danger is when there is cloud cover or a breeze that is making everything appear cooler. Clouds reduce the amount of ultraviolet A and B radiation that reaches the earth's surface and our skin, but don’t stop the damaging rays altogether. Clouds block more visible light than ultraviolet radiation,” she explained.
“Admittedly there will be ‘summer days’ when it is pouring it down with rain and the clouds are thick and grey that your umbrella and raincoat should give all the cover you need, but, basically, if the sun is shining then your skin is in danger.”
Government figures show that skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the UK and rates continue to rise with at least 100,000 new cases diagnosed each year resulting in approximately 2,500 deaths.
Dr Kaur added: “In the case of young children if it is warm enough for them to be playing out in shorts and T-shirts then the sun is usually strong enough to merit covering them in a protective cream or lotion.
“I would also advise that, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun rays are at their strongest, you always wear additional protective clothing eg a hat, long sleeved T-shirts and light, long trousers - or stay in the shade.
“It is always better to be safe than sorry and my advice would be that if you are outdoors in summer take care. Just because you can’t feel the burn doesn’t mean you aren’t damaging your skin!”
For a consultation with Dr Kaur, contact Spire Little Aston on 0121 580 7119.