Sun Awareness Week takes place this between 6th - 12th May 2019 and is designed to raise awareness of skin care and taking the necessary precautions when out and about.
It’s a particularly sobering subject and perhaps one that is not given enough attention in the media, or, rather not enough ongoing attention.
This is especially worrying when you consider that 2,400 melanoma skin cancer deaths happen in the UK every year (between 2014 to 2016). Breaking that average down, that’s a staggering six deaths per day.
Interestingly, more than half of malignant melanoma deaths in the UK each year are people aged 70 and over (2012 – 2014). What’s perhaps the most shocking though is that, over the last decade, mortality rates have increased by 156% in the UK. The largest increase in males (237%) over females (89%). Worldwide, an estimated 55,500 people had died from malignant melanoma in 2012.
So, whilst we all may feel that life in the UK is a largely wet and overcast affair, those statistics suggest otherwise. I feel we all need to remind ourselves that, just because the sun isn't out, sun care and protection is still important.
In fact, a cursory glance at last year’s temperatures suggests we hit highs of 34 degree celsius (as much as the memory likes to disagree with that) and that alone is reason enough to take an extra few minutes out of your day planning ahead.
Turning to safety measures, here’s some top tips:
- Sunscreen on? Delay going outside by 20 minutes, letting the chemicals start working and ensure the sun screen dries (meaning that it will stay on your skin longer).
- Sunscreen’s on! But, wait, you’ve been in the sea / swimming pool / Jacuzzi?! Re-apply that sunscreen – any interaction with water can reduce and ultimately remove the affect of sunscreen.
- It’s tempting to shed those clothes when the sun hits but tightly woven clothing in dark colours actually provides the best protection!
- Tick tock! That sun is strongest and most dangerous between 10am and 4pm, so consider delaying that trip out or party by a few hours.
- No sun in sight? Doesn’t matter. Clouds and pollution often give a false sense of protection. Even on cloudy or hazy days, unseen ultraviolet rays can cause unexpected sun burn.
Beach trip? Drinks in the beer garden? A saunter to the shops? Whatever you’re doing outside, make sure you plan ahead – take hats, sunglasses, additional clothing and sunscreen to best protect yourself!
Stay safe and have fun this summer!
Statistics Source – Cancer Research UK