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The sun emits rays called ultraviolet rays (UV rays). There are two type of UV rays, UVA and UVB. When the skin is exposed to these rays, it can cause damage to the skin cells at the DNA level. Continually exposing your skin to these UV rays increases the risk of damaged cells turning into cancer cells. UV rays are directly linked to developing melanoma, basal cell carcinoma of the skin and squamous cell carcinoma of the skin.

 

Sunscreen prevents both types of UV rays penetrating the skin surface and causing damage to the skin cells. As well as causing cancer, UV rays can cause sunburn, which dries the skin out and could make it become blistered, and ageing. When undergoing cancer treatment, some treatments and medication cause your skin to dry out. As sun exposure can exacerbate dry skin, it is best to keep it covered and moisturised, especially in the warmer months.
 

 

Firstly to ensure your sunscreen protects against both UV rays, you should choose a broad spectrum sunscreen. Secondly, you need to consider the sunscreens SPF. SPF stands for sun protection factor. SPF will determine how long the sunscreen will protect you against UVB rays (not both rays it should be noted). SPF 15 to 50 should be adequate depending on your skin type. Sunscreen can wash off with sweat and while swimming. If you are planning on being wet you may benefit from a water-resistant sunscreen.

The sun’s rays are usually at their peak between 10 to 2 or 11 to 3 depending on where you live. Staying out of direct sunlight during these peak times will decrease sun exposure. If you find you need to go into the sun, wearing protective clothing, such as long-sleeve tops, hats, or rash vests when swimming, will also give you extra protection against the sun's rays.

Skin cancer is the most predominant type of cancer associated with sun exposure. There are many different types of skin cancers but the most common are basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell carcinoma and melanoma. All these types of cancers are easily treatable when detected early. Additionally, using sunscreen and other sun protective methods can prevent you from getting skin cancer.

Moles and freckles are not necessarily skin cancer, and won’t necessarily turn into skin cancer. Mole mapping is a new way that doctors are able to keep an eye out on your moles to see if any of them start changing. It is important to keep an eye out for moles that rapidly grow in shape, or change in colour or that begin to bleed or become painful. It is also important to have someone check your moles in areas you cannot see. Areas on the back can be difficult to see, so ask your partner or friend to check out your back and any other difficult areas to ensure there are not any moles that have not been picked up on.

No. Sunbeds, just like the sun emit DNA-damaging UV rays. It is these rays that can cause mutations in the skin, which lead to skin cancer. Products such as fake tan are safer alternatives to sunbeds for people who want to have a summer glow. 

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