It's a been a pretty warm weekend in the UK that's for sure. With temperatures hitting 30 degrees plus around the country yesterday you'll have heard many comments of 'isn't it warm, I can't take much more of this heat, I hope this heat doesn't last' and a lot of comments referring to cider and wheres the bar.... yes I had a cider, in the sun. It was literally heaven.
We are a fickle bunch us brits, it's always either too hot, too cold, to wet, too dry, too muggy and so on and so on. We do love a weather chat. Any continual weather pattern that lasts more than two days has us all in a tither. Our housing and transport systems are not built for extremes. I wonder if you see many Brits in Palm Springs? probs not right?
We are also useless at sun protection, like totally bonkers useless. Any double digit temperature has us stripping off to find the nearest patch of water. A fun game to play when it's a bit warm is to see how many men you see with tops off on your stroll to the park. It'll be quite a few I can tell you.
A bit of a frivolity in the sun without the proper protection (sun protection you filth pot) can be quite harmful. Skin cancer figures in the UK are expected to rise by 7% by 2035 (I'm not even going to talk about climate change here) and we need to take heed now more than ever.
1 in 36 males and 1 in 47 females in UK will be diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer in their lifetime. With 86% of melanoma skin cancer cases in the UK being preventable. Scary right? Men seem to be totally ignoring sun safety advise too which is a worry.
So what can you do to lessen your chances of getting skin cancer? Quite a bit, as it says up there a whopping 86% of skin cancers in the UK are preventable.
You need to avoid being hit with too much UVA (Aging) UVB (Burning) rays. The burning one is the one that causes cancer. The UV part stands for ultra violet.
Here are our top tips on how to stay sun safe to avoid skin damage, aging, skin cancer, sun stroke and illness.
1. Wear sunscreen. Make sure it has UVA and UVB coverage. If it only has one, don't buy it. Go for factor 30+. Obviously we are all about the natural sunscreen but anything is better than nothing.
2. Apply sunscreen regularly, every 1.5 to 2 hours. Reapply when you've been swimming, towel dried and when you've exercised and sweated. No matter what 'waterproof' coverage your sunscreen gives you, use more not less. So many people apply once a day then wonder why they are bright red. Sunscreen is not a shield, it's a small defense that needs topping up. Regularly.
3. Apply a good amount. 1 gram per limb is the general advice in the Natural sunscreen stakes.
4. Make sure you do the same with your children, they aren't going to like it but if they aren't running amok or eating they don't like anything do they?
5. Stay out of the sun at peak hours of sun exposure - we all used to think this was around lunchtime right? Well, did you know the suns UV rays are at their strongest between 10am and 4pm? Pretty much most of the day that we would be out in the sun.... well, avoid being in direct sunlight as much as possible during these hours.... if you can.
6. Cover up. Throws, hats, sunglasses. UV protectors on the kiddies if they are in the garden, paddling pool, swimming pool or sea or out in the sun. Stay under a parasol if you can.
7. Avoid sun trapped areas, especially if you're having an afternoon of frivolity (aka drinking) with mates. You'll easily be too over exposed even if you feel ok. Go in the shade for sunshine drinks.
8. Don't sun bake. You know you're guilty of it. As am I. Laying in the garden in the sun, laying by the pool on holiday on a sun lounger. A tan isn't worth it. We've got all the organic tans you need right? :) Most likely you'll burn and it'll hurt too. It's so easy to get sunstroke, be smart. Enjoy the sun sure but intervals of it.
9. Stay watered. Make sure your reusable water bottle/container is kept topped up (because you know, I'm sure you're not buying bottled water....) you can go into anywhere now and ask for a tap water to be put in your bottle, they may give you the side eye but bugger them. Staying hydrated is more important.
10. Keep an eye on your loved ones around you. Yes you're making sure the kids are sunscreened up, fed, watered, covered and in the shade where possible but what about your partner? Mother, Father, Sibling, Friend? don't forget that 1 in 36 males, compared with 1 in 47 females will be diagnosed with a melanoma in the UK. The dudes in our lives are clearly too nonchalant about this sun damage business. Get them to listen. If in doubt throw sunscreen on them, they'll then need to rub it in?
11. BONUS advice. Now, this kinda goes without saying but we've had a sunbed place open up near our offices and I'm shocked at the amount of people who think this nonsense is ok. So, here's some sunbed info straight from the Cancer Research website
Using a sunbed will increase your risk of getting skin cancer.
Sunbeds emit UV rays that cause DNA damage. This damage increases your risk of developing different kinds of skin cancer, including the most serious form called malignant melanoma.
There is so much evidence proving that UV rays cause cancer that the International Agency for Research on Cancer, an agency of the World Health Organization (WHO), has classified sunbeds as a Group 1 Carcinogen
A carcinogen is a substance capable of causing cancer. Carcinogens are categorised into different groups depending on the evidence available. Group 1 is the highest grading. As in Very Very bad.
This is particularly interesting since the Sunbed Association (imagine being in this fun forever tanned group) say that there is no evidence to suggest that going on a sunbed increases your likelihood of getting cancer. Nice guys, real nice. Just as long as you're making the cash eh.
We don't need to be running for the air conditioned shopping centres, restaurants and cinemas (we don't usually have aircon in our houses if you're reading this from a non UK residence) this isn't doomsday stuff, yet, I'll save another climate change blog for another day, it's simple easy to follow advice that we should all be listening to.
Our skin is all over us, it protects the inside of us. It's our barrier, our armour and our saviour. We should be doing what we can with what is available to us in the form of sunscreens, moisturisers, skin soothing body washes, soaps and scrubs. It isn't frivolous, it's a necessity. Sun and pollution damage is real and avoidable by taking the correct steps.
I just wish I hadn't been so flippant with my skin in my teens and 20's. Don't you?
I'll put some links for some fab natural sunscreens below.
Stay sun safe peeps!