It’s easy to associate ‘summer’ and ‘beach' with ‘sunscreen’ - maybe it’s the beautifully beach-poised sunscreen billboards or childhood memories of our mum yelling out ‘you need to reapply your sunscreen’ as we're getting wave-slammed in the surf – what's harder to associate is sunscreen... when it’s not sunny, when we’re not at the beach, and when holidays are far-removed from our present reality... The truth is, sunscreen should play a greater role in our lives than just a beach holiday cameo.
The sun is more powerful than it appears, especially in Australia. Dr Ahmad Hasanien, a skin cancer expert explains our geographical bearing on the sun’s intensity ‘During summer, the Earth’s orbit brings Australia closer to the sun, resulting in an additional 7% solar UV intensity. Coupled with our clearer atmospheric conditions, this means that Australians are exposed to up to 15% more UV than Europeans’. When it comes to our skin – it's no surprise that UV rays can cause irreparable damage, especially with prolonged exposure, which is where SPF comes in.
Here are just some of the everlasting effects if you do not protect your skin from the sun.
Skin Cancer: The two most common ways to get skin cancer are from the sun or UV tanning beds (excess exposure to UV rays); manifesting into two main cancer types – non-melanoma skin cancer (also known as keratinocyte cancer) or malignant melanoma. Primary treatment options for skin cancer include surgery, radiation and chemotherapy.
Wrinkles: Too much sun exposure can damage the hydration and elasticity of your skin, causing wrinkles and fine lines to start appearing. Let’s face it, no one wants to look older than they truly are, so by covering your skin and applying sunscreen you can avoid wrinkles earlier on.
- Inflammation: Being exposed to UV rays for too long will cause the skin to turn bright red and become noticeably inflamed. If the burn is bad enough this can cause a rash, blisters, peeling, and uncomfortableness as the skin tries to heal and repair itself. While cooling lotions and aloe vera can aid in the skin rejuvenation process, it can take days or weeks to heal depending on the severity of the burn.
When it comes to picking a sunscreen that’s best for you, there are many options to choose from but make sure the SPF is above 30 to ensure your skin is fully protected. Get in the routine of applying sunscreen every single day (yes, that includes cloudy days too!) to make sure your skin stays strong and healthy.
To learn more about what sunscreen is best for you, reach out to your local dermatologist.