Health and Lifestyle for the over 50s

Happiness is Skin-Deep: Keep Your Skin Safe When on Holiday

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Health and Wellbeing / Travel Health /

TRAVEL shutterstock_206289973
When you go on holiday, one of the highlights is spending some time in the sun. After all, the UK isn’t blessed with reliable sunshine; and it’s nice to know that you’ll be able to enjoy several days relaxing on the beach or beside the pool when on your break!

However, as you’re probably already aware; although the sun feels great, over-exposure can result in serious problems for your skin. Here’s some key facts to be aware of, and some recommendations as to how to protect your skin from permanent damage.

Skin Cancer: The Statistics
Of all the threats that UV rays present to your skin, by far the most worrying is skin cancer. According to the most recent statistics taken from Cancer Research UK, 13,348 people were diagnosed with malignant melanoma skin cancer in 2011. 2,148 people died from the disease in 2012.

The organisation states that 86% of malignant melanoma cancer cases were ‘linked to major lifestyle and other risk choices’. This mostly refers to time spent in the sun, or on a sun-bed. It’s the fifth most common cancer in Britain, and it’s definitely something to take seriously when you’re travelling to hot countries.

Time to Top Up Your Tan for Your Holiday?
It’s often thought that a quick session or two on the sun-beds before your holiday can help build up a ‘base tan’; thus preventing pale skin from burning when exposed to the sun. However, according to research undertaken by the University of Dundee, sun-beds available in your local area may be far more damaging than you realise. The study found 9 in 10 sun-beds were ‘breaking safety rules’ as to how much UV light to emit.

Indeed, The British Association of Dermatologists speculate that sun-beds may give out UV rays that are up to 10-15 times more intense than the midday sun in a Mediterranean country.

In conclusion, if you’re using sun-beds to top up on a tan before you go abroad; stop straight away. In fact, most medical organisations across the world agree that it’s not a good idea to use them at all.

How to Protect Your Skin: Be Vigilant
When abroad, it’s important to be aware of the signs of sunburn. If your skin starts to feel tight or tingly, this is an indication that sun damage may be occurring, and if your skin starts to redden, this is a certain sign.

If you fall into any of the following categories, you’re at higher risk, and need to take special care when out in the sun:

  • If you have pale skin
  • If you have lots of freckles or moles
  • If you have a history of skin cancer
  • If any family members have had skin cancer

Taking Care in the Sun
It’s recommended that you avoid being out in full sunlight between the hours of 11am and 3pm; or if you need to be exposed to the sun, make sure to wear loose-fitting clothes that cover you up as well as possible. You may also want to wear a wide-brimmed hat to provide additional shade.

The NHS advises that you also wear sunscreen with a SPF of at least 15. You can also protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses whilst out in the full sun.

* http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/cancerstats/types/skin/

* http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2328061/That-pre-holiday-tan-session-protect-skin-fatal.html

* http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/type/melanoma/about/preventing-melanoma

* http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/skin/Pages/Sunsafe.aspx

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Posted by The Best of Health

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