Being Sun Safe
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun. UV rays are very harmful, they can cause premature ageing of the skin and signs of sun damage such as liver spots, actinic keratosis, and solar elastosis as well as skin cancer and sunburn.
There are 3 types of UV rays:
UVC Rays – Shortest waves do not penetrate the ozone layer or affect skin
UVB Rays – Longer waves that affect the epidermis, the top layer of skin and can cause sunburn
UVA Rays – Longest waves that affect the dermis, the deeper layer of skin, and cause photo ageing
and skin cancer.
Sunburn causes the skin to become red, sore, warm, tender and occasionally itchy for about a week, sunburn can increase your chances of developing serious health problems, such as skin cancer, in later life so it’s important to try to avoid it.
What to do if you’re sunburnt:
• Cool the skin by sponging it with cold water or by having a cold bath or shower – applying a cold compress such as a cold flannel to the affected area may also help.
• Drink plenty of fluids to cool you down and prevent dehydration.
• Apply a water-based emollient or petroleum jelly (such as Vaseline) to keep your skin cool and moist.
• Take painkillers such as ibuprofen or paracetamol to relieve any pain.
Things to avoid if sunburnt:
• Wearing tight clothes – they can lea d to more intense swelling and blisters
• Using scented aloe, alcohol based creams and chemical based sunscreen- can irritate skin even more
• Not hydrating
• covering it up with makeup –can increase your risk for infection or allergic reaction
• Not taking anti-inflammatory medication right away
You are at risk of sun burn if you:
- have pale, white or light brown skin
- have freckles or red or fair hair
- tend to burn rather than tan
- have many moles
- have skin problems relating to a medical condition
- are only exposed to intense sun occasionally – for example, while on holiday
- are in a hot country where the sun is particularly intense
- have a family history of skin cancer.
To avoid sunburn skin should be protected from strong sunlight by covering up with suitable clothing, seeking shade and applying sunscreen.
In the UK, the risk of getting sunburnt is highest from March to October, particularly from 11am to 3pm, when the sun’s rays are strongest so avoid staying out in these hours for long periods of time.
One of the benefits of exposure to sunlight is formation of vitamin D in the skin which plays an important role in many functions of our body.The recommended amount of sunlight exposure is 10–30 minutes of midday sunlight, several times per week while people with darker skin may need a little more than this.