Safety in the sun
Look after your wellbeing with these sun safety tips
Most of us love the sun. However, how we react to its rays varies from one individual to another. It’s a myth that a tan is a sign of health. In fact, tanning is the result of the skin protecting itself from further damage. As such it’s important to take care in the sun and to take sensible precautions to ensure that we are enjoying it safely.
As part of your medical plan, if you're concerned about a worrying mark or mole on your skin, you can self-refer to skin cancer diagnostics. Read these sun safety tips or watch our webinar below to find out how you can stay safe in the sun and how Cigna can help you spot any changes to your skin or moles.
Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK and the number of people affected is on the increase. At least 100,000 new cases are now diagnosed each year, and the disease kills more than 2,500 people per year in the UK - that’s seven people every day.1 Over the last thirty years, rates of malignant melanoma in the UK have risen faster than any of the current ten most common cancers.1
Tanning is a natural process. Your skin creates the brown-coloured pigment called melanin to protect it against the harmful UV rays in sunlight. This means even the lightest suntan is evidence of skin damage. If the damaged skin cells can’t repair themselves, they can become cancerous. Exposure to solar and artificial UV radiation is widely recognised as a leading and preventable cause of skin cancer.
Staying safe in the sun
It’s important to remember that even when the sun isn’t shining brightly, up to 80% of the sun’s rays can still pass through the cloud cover. Therefore you still need to protect your skin. Here are some do’s and don’ts to help you stay safe.
- Expose yourself to the sun gradually until a good base tan is developed.
- Sunbathe for a maximum of 30 minutes on the first day, adding 5 or 10 minutes each day.
- Try to avoid strenuous outdoor activity when the sun is at its strongest - between the hours of 11am and 3pm.
- Use an after-sun lotion. This moisturises the skin and helps keep your tan for longer.
- Wear clothes that cover your arms and legs after sunbathing to prevent further exposure.
- Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
- Inspect moles and freckles monthly, noting any changes. If you notice any, inform your GP.
- Use Aloe Vera 100% gel – it has a cool and soothing effect on hot skin and sunburn.
- If you feel unwell or your skin swells badly or blisters, seek medical help.
- Expose pale skin without a sunscreen of at least SPF 15.
- Expose your skin further if you have sunburn.
- Use butter or petroleum-based suntan lotions as they encourage sunburn.
- Go out in the sun without sunglasses that give UVA and UVB protection, or you risk developing cataracts.
- Expose babies under the age of six months to any amount of UV rays as their skin is more sensitive to the sun.
For more sun safety tips check out our short webinar below. We also now offer the choice of a skin cancer self-referral service where members can access local cancer specialists quickly for diagnostics. Visit our skin cancer self referral webpage to learn more.
Contact us with questions
For more information about our self-referral treatment options, please get in touch.
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