Sun Protection – don’t leave home without it

It only takes 15 minutes, even on a cloudy or cool day, for the sun’s rays to begin to inflict harm on your skin. If you often spend time in the sun without proper protection, you could be at risk for serious skin damage – premature wrinkling, hyperpigmentation, sagging, and the worst-case scenario, skin cancer. Use sunscreen every day, all year long. Your skin will thank you and it’s one of the best anti-aging and preventive measures you can take.

At Britannia Dermedics We Don’t Just Rejuvenate Your Skin, We Rejuvenate Your Soul.

How to protect your skin:

  • When possible, apply sunscreen before you venture outside for full protection. Try to reapply at least every two hours, and more often if you are in water.
  • Always use a sunscreen with sun protection factor (SPF) 15 or higher; the higher the SPF number, the better you are protected.
  • Apply a thick layer of sunscreen on the most exposed body parts: your face, neck, arms, legs, and back.
  • Use sunscreen lip balm to protect your lips.
  • Consider using cosmetics which contain sunscreen—again, these should be at least SPF15.
  • Choose a broad spectrum of products to guard against the sun’s ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays.
  • Avoid using sunscreen on babies younger than six month.  Instead, use hats, clothing and shade for their protection.

More ways to protect your precious skin:

  • Clothing – Pants and shirts made from tightly woven fabric offer the most protection.
  • Hats: Wear a hat with a brim that shades your face, ears and back of the neck for the most protection.
  • Sunglasses: Protect your eyes from UVA and UVB rays and lower cataract risks.
  • Shade: Seek shade when possible by using an umbrella or getting under a tree or anywhere else with shade.

Skin Cancer Statistics

  • According to an earlier study by the Canadian Dermatology Association, more than 74,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer were expected in 2011 (squamous and basal). It was also expected that more than 5,500 new cases of melanoma would be diagnosed in 2011 and of that number, 950 people are expected to die.
  • If you were born in the 1990s or afterwards, you have a one in six lifetime risk of skin cancer. If you were born in the 1960s, you have a one in 20 lifetime risk.

Types of skin cancer

Basal cell carcinoma – the most common form of skin cancer in Canada.

This type of skin cancer fortunately is the least dangerous but must be treated since it will continue to grow, invading and destroying surrounding skin tissue, eventually causing disfigurement.

Squamous cell skin cancer – the second most common form of skin cancer in Canada after basal cell skin cancer. This form of skin cancer must be treated because the lesion may continue to grow in size, damaging surrounding tissue, and may spread to other areas of the body.

Malignant melanoma – a less common but highly dangerous form of skin cancer.

When found at an early stage, melanoma has one of the highest cure rates of all cancers at more than 90 per cent. If left untreated, melanoma starts to invade into the skin. When it reaches the blood stream or the lymphatic system, it has a chance to spread to other parts of the body and often causes death.

Melanoma is a less common but most dangerous form of skin cancer. It starts in the melanocytes or pigment producing cells found in the outer layer of the skin. These cells grow out of control and form a tumour. Melanomas are often brown and black in colour but can show other shades.

Actinic Keratoses – although actinic keratoses are not true skin cancers, it is important to have these lesions treated as they have the potential to change into squamous cell skin cancers. Actinic keratoses appear as red, rough, scaling spots. These lesions appear on sun-exposed areas such as the face, ear, balding scalp, back of the hand, forearm and leg. People usually have a few at a time. These spots may sting or itch. Some forms of actinic keratoses develop on the lower lip.

(Source: Canadian Dermatology Association)

A sunburn or tan could be a red flag, indicating a problem with your skin’s health. Slather on the sunscreen before leaving the house, and then slather more on at least every two hours.