Today is the start of Sun Awareness Week (9th to 15th May 2016) – and now that the sun has arrived over the weekend, what better time to remind yourself and your employees to take care of your skin.
The unpredictability of the good old British Summer can lead to many people thinking they will not get sunburn in such a changeable climate. However, the majority of the population have fair skin, which provides little protection against the sun, so even a small amount of exposure can do damage.
A new poll for Sun Awareness Week from the British Association of Dermatologists, has found that 80% of people are failing to adequately apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. The survey also showed that 70% of people don’t reapply sunscreen every two hours as recommended. To help reverse these numbers, here are the Healthy Performance tips to stop our slapdash approach to sunscreen which is putting lives at risk.
Sun protection tips …
The sun’s rays feel good, but they’re no friend to your skin. Though you won’t see it right away, they give you wrinkles and age spots, and they’re the top cause of skin cancer. However, there are ways you can protect yourself in the sunshine …
- Spend time in the shade during the sunniest part of the day when the sun is at its strongest, which is usually between 11am and 3pm in the summer months.
- Wear sunglasses with total UV protection.
- When it is not possible to stay out of the sun, keeping yourself well covered, with a hat, T-shirt, and sunglasses can give you additional protection.
- Apply sunscreen liberally to exposed areas of skin. Re-apply every two hours and straight after swimming or towelling in order to maintain protection.
- For people with thin or thinning hair, apply sunscreen to the scalp as well.
- Remember that UV rays bounce off sand, snow, concrete, and water.
- Don’t use tanning beds!
- Avoid direct sun exposure for babies and very young children.
Checking for skin cancer …
There are two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma, the most common, and melanoma, which is less common but more dangerous. The following ABCD-Easy rules show you a few changes that might indicate a ‘melanoma’, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer. As skin cancers vary, you should tell your doctor about any changes to your skin, even if they are not similar to those mentioned here. If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.
Asymmetry – the two halves of the area may differ in shape
Border – the edges of the area may be irregular or blurred, and sometimes show notches
Colour – this may be uneven. Different shades of black, brown and pink may be seen
Diameter – most melanomas are at least 6mm in diameter. Report any change in size, shape or diameter to your doctor
Expert – if in doubt, check it out! If your GP is concerned about your skin, make sure you see a Consultant Dermatologist, the most expert person to diagnose a skin cancer. Your GP can refer you via the NHS.
Non-melanoma skin cancer …
Non-melanoma skin cancers can occur on any part of the body, but are most common on areas of skin that most often exposed to the sun such as your head and neck (including lips and ears) and the backs of your hands. They can also appear where the skin has been damaged by X-rays, and on old scars, ulcers, burns and persistent wounds.
Non-melanoma skin cancers vary greatly in what they look like. They tend to appear gradually on the skin, and slowly get bigger over time. They will not go away on their own without treatment. Some possible signs include:
– A scab or sore that won’t heal. It may also bleed occasionally
– A scaly or crusty patch of skin that looks red or inflamed
– A flesh coloured, pearly lump that won’t go away and appears to be growing in size
– A lump on the skin which is getting bigger and that may be scabby
– A growth with a pearly rim surrounding a central crater, a bit like an upturned volcano
Educate your employees …
A summer health awareness event is a great way to promote health and wellbeing. Within the Summer Health Day, our team are on site covering issues such as sunburn, hydration and getting fit. There is also the additional option of goody bags for all employees with products relevant to each season. To book your Summer Health Day call the HP Team on 01295 230121.