Although most of us love embracing the sunshine, getting too much sun can be harmful for your skin. Too much exposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV rays) can damage your skin and potentially lead to skin cancer, but with good protection against UV rays, most cases of skin cancer could be avoided. When managed correctly, the sun is good for us as it is the best natural source of vitamin D and is important for general health. Irish Cancer Society has their SunSmart Code which offers tips for protecting your skin while you enjoy the sunshine this Summer.
Step 1: Seek Shade
Spending time in the shade is the most effective, obvious thing you can do to avoid being in the sun too long. Good shade can give up to 75% protection from UV rays.
Step 2: Protective Clothing
One of the simplest things you can do to protect your skin from UV rays is to cover it with protective clothing. Choose clothes that cover as much skin as possible. For example, wear a shirt with a collar, three-quarter length sleeves and three-quarter length trousers.
Step 3: Wear sunglasses
Choosing to wear a hat that gives shade to the eyes and sunglasses that give UV protection can help protect your eyes from these conditions. Eye damage from UV rays can start at an early age. For this reason it is a good idea to protect children’s eyes with sunglasses when they are old enough to wear them. Make sure the glasses fit well and that they are not a safety hazard.
Step 4: Use sunscreen
When in Ireland you should always wear sunscreen from April to September to reduce your risk of skin cancer. But remember, using sunscreen alone will not give enough protection against harmful UV rays. It is important to use shade, clothes and sunglasses too. In this way you get the best possible protection from UV damage.
Step 5: Know the UV index
When the UV Index is 3 or more you are at greater risk of skin damage that can lead to skin cancer. Get into the habit of checking the UV Index as a reminder of the need to be SunSmart every day from April to September. Check the UV index on the Met Eireann website
For the full SunSmart Code and all reliable information about skin cancer prevention, treatment and supports in Ireland visit www.cancer.ie