If you're not sure what SPF to wear this week, there's a quiz to help.
Ireland is experiencing it’s hottest summer in decades, so there are many cautions against skin cancer for people enjoying the good weather.
Being aware of your skin type can help you protect yourself from Ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) of the sun.
Dr Patrick Ormond, Consultant Dermatologist at St. James’s Hospital says, “Over 75% of the population in Ireland have ‘Celtic skin type’ where we freckle and burn easily. We tan with difficulty, or not at all and we carry the highest risk of getting skin cancer.
“People with a fair complexion need to be extra careful in the sun. We can protect our skin by covering up (hat, sunglasses, long sleeved clothing), seeking shade and using a ‘broad spectrum’ sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30.”
You can take a quiz to find out what your skin type is here: https://www.skincancer.org/prevention/are-you-at-risk/fitzpatrick-skin-quiz#panel1-2
“There’s not much you can do about your skin type or genetics, but there are two things you can do to protect your skin for the future and reduce the risk of skin cancer – No sun burning and no sunbathing. Protect yourself from unnecessary sun exposure today, and your skin will thank you for the rest of your life” Dr Ormond added.
Dr Ormond also outlined the following tips on being sun safe:
– Seek Shade: UV rays are the most intense between 11am and 3-4pm, so limit sun exposure during this time.
– Cover up: Wear loose long-sleeved shirts and long pants. 95% of UV rays are blocked by cotton. Wear a wide brimmed hat that shades the head, neck, ears and face.
– Wraparound sunglasses: Wear sunglasses that block as close to 100% UVA and UVB as possible. Sunglasses are just as important for children as they are for adults and can prevent cataracts in later life.
– Wear sunscreen: Use a ‘broad-spectrum’ sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB; – SPF minimum 30 (protects against UVB) and look for these signs (symbols) for UVA protection. Apply at least 20 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply every two hours. The amount of sunscreen that’s needed to cover the body of an average adult is around six full teaspoons of lotion. It is important to know that sunscreen use alone is not adequate protection against UV rays; you need to be aware of your skin type and how strong the UV index is. Babies should be kept of direct sunlight. People who are at high risk of skin cancer should use SPF 50.
– Know your moles: Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. Over 1,000 people are diagnosed with malignant melanoma, and over 11,100 people are diagnosed with other forms of skin cancer each year in Ireland. It is the third most common cancer diagnosed in 15 – 44 year age group.
Dr Ormond stressed that “when caught early, Melanoma can be treated effectively. However, if left untreated, melanoma can spread to other parts of the body.
“There are many factors that increase the risk of someone developing melanoma. These include a person with many abnormal moles, or a large number of moles – more than 50; fair complexion (fair skin, blue eyes, red/blonde hair); having had a previous melanoma or other non-melanoma skin cancer; immunosuppression (anyone who for example has had a transplant or is on immunosuppressive medication); anyone who has had a family history of melanoma; anyone with a history of childhood sunburn or anyone who has used a sunbed.”