Saturday, October 18, 2008

UV Protection for the family

We all love the sun, especially the kids. There's nothing better than a relaxing day on the beach, playing, swimming, snoozing, having a BBQ and so on, the list is endless!

The sun is essential to life and for lifting our spirits. Small amounts of UV rays are essential for the production of vitamin D. UV rays are even used to treat several diseases such as eczema, jaundice and rickets.

However, gone are the days of slapping on factor 2 and baking in the sun all day.

A tan is the result of the skin trying to prevent more skin damage. Although we often think that people look more healthy with a tan, the fact is, there's nothing whatsoever healthy about a tan.

Children have less of the skin's protective melanin pigment and so are at a higher risk of incurring skin damage from the sun. Just one sunburn in childhood is estimated to double the risk of getting melanoma later in life; however, “later in life” is not the only time to be concerned.

More teenagers and young adults are being diagnosed with skin cancer than ever before, and the number of people with skin cancer in Europe has more than doubled since the early 80s. Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in the UK. Each year there are more than 65,000 new cases, and over 2000 deaths due to skin cancer each year.

Sun cream, unfortunately, cannot be relied upon. Even a typical sunscreen with a 30 SPF allows a lot of harmful UVA radiation through to the skin. Medical studies have also shown that most people apply less than half the recommended amount of sunscreen needed. And many fail to regularly reapply sunscreen even though they continue to stay in the sun. Sunscreen is essential, but is a far from perfect defense against the sun .

Dermatologists and doctors are in agreement that the most effective way of protecting our skin from the sun is by wearing properly designed sun protective clothing.

For more information on skin cancer from the WHO and other organizations please see our links page, or contact your family doctor.

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