With skin cancer becoming a growing concern in the UK, it’s important to minimise your risks all year round - not just during summertime.
If you are a winter sports enthusiast, skin safety needs to be as important as your protective gear. The combination of higher altitude and the UV (ultra violet) rays reflected on the snow, increases your risk of sun damage.
It’s easy to forget about sunscreen when you are about to hit the slopes, but the winter sun can be as damaging as exposure at the beach. The intensity of UV increases by 10-12% with every 1000m above sea level1.
Also the snow can reflect up to 80% of UV radiation, compared to the dry sand on a beach-15%1. This means that even on a cloudy day, you are at risk.
It is important to apply sunscreen with high SPF (sun protection factor) score on all exposed areas, including your face and make sure to reapply every two hours.
Use your sunscreen liberally and at regular intervals, making sure to cover all areas of exposed skin, including the back of the neck, top of the ears and the scalp. Get help from someone else for the hard-to-reach areas like your back and shoulders. A sunscreen with a high SPF will help prevent the skin from burning and the damage that can cause skin cancer.
Wear more clothes
This may seem like an odd tip to advise during the summer, but wearing a hat, sunglasses, and putting on a t-shirt or kaftan to cover your shoulders and chest on the beach will give you more protection from the sun, without making you too hot.
Sit in the shade
Where possible enjoy the sun in the shade rather than sitting or walking directly in it. Take a large parasol to the beach and sit underneath this, especially at times when the sun is highest in the sky, so between 11am till 3pm.
Home & away
Remember that the sun does come out in the UK as well; take sunscreen to work with you and apply before sitting outside on your lunch break.
Monitor your moles
It is essential to regularly monitor your moles. If any moles change in colour, size, shape, bleed or become sensitive to touch, then seek a review by your GP or Dermatologist.
Avoid sunbeds all year round
Dr Daniel Glass explains: "There is a large body of evidence to suggest that using sunbeds increases your risk of skin cancer.
According to a research that collected evidence from 27 studies, sunbed users have up to 20% increased risk of melanoma - one of the most aggressive forms of skin cancer2.
Using sunbeds when you are young can be particularly damaging so young adults need to take into consideration that the choice to go on a sunbed will have long term effects. Use of sunbeds by the young is thought to partially account for the increased numbers of skin cancers observed in young patients.
There is a move in the USA to classify sunbeds as a carcinogen, just like cigarettes. The risk of melanoma associated with 10 or more indoor tanning sessions was nearly 600% higher among young patients3.
For more tips on skin cancer awareness and prevention and advice on what to do if you are concerned, download our free skin cancer awareness guide and get clued up today.
To find out more about our skin cancer services please call us on 0800 157 7747 or make an online enquiry