The month of May saw record sunshine hours in the UK and this coincided with Sun Awareness Week. In June, with Coronavirus lock down easing, more people are getting out and about. We all know about the association between sun exposure and skin cancer. Here’s how to prepare for skin cancer prevention over this summer, now that we can’t wait to make the most of the out doors:
1. Look at the UV index daily.
As soon at it shifts from green to yellow, make sure you have sunscreen on. When the UV index gets to orange, seek shade and cover up. Wear a wide brimmed hat and wear long sleeved loose fitting clothes.
2. The right sunscreen can be tricky to find. Look for factor 30 to protect against UVB, and a 4 or 5 star rating to protect against UVA. Put it on about 15 minutes before going out in the sun!
3. People with skin of colour of skin type 5 or 6 will not be at increased risk of sun induced skin cancers. However, keep an eye out for moles on the soles of feet and nail beds- think of Bob Marley. He died in 1977 from a skin cancer under the nail of his toe.
4. Top up your vitamin D levels. As a general rule, for paler skin colours of type 1-4, just 15 minutes of daily sun exposure, mid morning or late afternoon, may provide enough vitamin D to keep your bones healthy. For skin of colour, types 5 or 6 based in the UK, more exposure is needed. Studies suggest 40 minutes of sunlight at lunchtime, exposing arms and legs, from March to September.
5. In addition, because our weather is so variable, everyone should eat food rich in vitamin D-fatty fish (salmon, tuna, mackerel), eggs, cheese.
6. And finally, take year round vitamin D supplements of 500IU or 12.5mcg