It’s all about prevention. There is no cure, yet..

This month is Summer Sun Safety Month. SkinVision & Surfer's Skin presents a series of blog posts that will help you to enjoy the sun safely.

Now, this makes for a bit of grim reading – but we all need wake up calls – and to be honest, it’s gone beyond a wake-up call – it’s now time to act.It is a scary statistic but there has been a 2000% rise in melanoma incidences worldwide since 1930 with 1 in 50 people being affected by melanoma of some form, as stated by the Melanoma Foundation.

So, let’s take a few steps back and address some of the key questions around melanoma and melanoma prevention.

What causes Melanoma?

Most melanomas are caused by exposure to UV radiation in sunlight.  The sunburn we experienced as kids, otherwise known as – child’s rite of passage – increases our risk of Melanoma now!  If we think about our childhood and our beach/lake/camping days and compare that to of our children/nieces/nephews – there is a big difference.  We know too much now – and ignorance is not an excuse anymore.

Can Melanoma be prevented?

Short answer – yes it can.  Here are some preventative measures you can adopt to help keep yourself “sun-safe”.

  • wear a broad-brimmed hat
  • long-sleeved clothing
  • sunglasses
  • apply sunscreen regularly – every 2 hours.  If you have been for a swim and have toweled down – reapply your sunscreen.  The sunscreen is there to be used – not look good on your towel.
  • Shade – make use of it especially between the hours of 10 am and 4 pm.
  • Drink plenty of water – it won’t protect you from the sun – but rehydration is a good all-rounder for your body!

Who is at risk of Melanoma?

Skin type and family history play a big part in the risk factor.  The fair-skinned of us are the most prone to Melanoma.  This is due to the fact that their skin burns more quickly than people with darker skin (for eg African-American and Asian People).  In saying that there is one type of melanoma that tends to occur on the soles of feet, palms of hands and under the nails in people with darker skin.  No-one is immune it seems.

What does Melanoma look like?

Melanomas often appear as a new spot or existing spot, freckle or mole that has changed in color shape or size.  They can have an unusual shape or color or a variety of colours and in some cases, they may not be colored at all.  Below is a chart that gives a visual for you to see.

Image by Hope Health

So – armed with this information – it’s time that everyone takes the need for sun protection seriously.  The old saying: SLIP on a t shirt, SLOP on some sunscreen, SLAP on a hat, has held true for a long time.

This blog post is written by Surfer’s Skin, highest care standard sunscreen and one of SkinVision’s partners in a joint mission to bring skin cancer rates down.

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