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The First Aid Team
by First Aid Team

As we (finally) seem to be moving towards Summer and with lockdown restrictions easing it is nice to be able to think and start planning a break away from it all even if it is most likely going to be in the UK.

The general advice about covering up, wearing a hat and an appropriate factor sunscreen is well known but there are a lot of people who chose to ignore this, quite often regarding sunburn as part of the process of getting a good tan. Indeed, on occasion I’ve had people tell me that they start the sun-bathing process by using baby oil or olive oil to ensure they get sun-burnt, followed by ‘the best tan ever’

Not only is this very foolish, but it is stacking up trouble further down the road as sunburn can lead to skin cancers.

According to Cancer Research UK most non-melanoma skin cancers are caused by exposure to the sun whether long-term or short periods of intense sun exposure and burning and the odds of getting a skin cancer increase with age.

The ultraviolet light in sunlight damages the DNA in our skin cells and this can occur many years before the cancer develops and if you have a history of sunburn then the odds increase yet again and people who work outdoors face additional risks.

There was a report some years ago (which I’m unable to cite) that investigated a spike in skin cancers amongst men in their 60s and 70s for what would normally be regarded as low risks occupations such as office workers.

Investigations were able to identify a probable link between this and the boom in the package holiday market in the 1960 & 1970s before the importance of sun-screen and being careful were widely known and we’re all familiar, I suspect, with the lobster-red individual coming back from the beach even in the UK.

No-one is free from the risk of skin cancer irrespective of your complexion. It is true that fair-skinned people are more at risk but even those with darker skins or complexions can still develop skin cancers from over-exposure to UV light, whether from the sun or sun beds.

Enjoy the summer. Let us all hope it’s a nice one with plenty of sun, but do take care not to burn as, not only does it hurt, but you could be storing up problems for the future.

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