Sun and Skin

With summer well and truly here, sun protection and skin checks are crucial. The cancer council recommends 5 steps for sun protection 

1. Slip on sun protective clothing
Choose clothing that covers as much skin as possible (think shirts with long sleeves).  

2. Slop on SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
Apply sunscreen to clean, dry skin at least 20 minutes before you go outside. You will need around seven teaspoons of sunscreen for your whole body. Always make sure to re-reapply sunscreen every two hours, especially after swimming, towel drying or if you work (or work out) outdoors and are likely to be sweating. And remember, sunscreen is your last line of defence, and should always be used in combination with the other measures. 

3. Slap on a broad-brimmed hat
Choose a broad-brimmed, which shades your face, nose, neck and ears, which are common sites for skin cancers. Caps and visors do not provide enough protection.     

4. Seek shade
Use trees, shade structures, or bring your own gazebo or umbrella with a high UPF designed to offer sun protection. Shade reduces UV radiation, but it can still reach you via reflection – especially around water - so make sure you use shade in combination with other sun protection measures.     

5. Slide on some sunglasses
Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat worn together can reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98%. Choose close-fitting wraparound sunglasses that meet Australian Standards.

It is a good idea to regularly check your own skin so you know what is normal for you and notice any changes. The sooner a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better your chance of avoiding surgery or, in the case of a serious melanoma or other skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death. These are some changes to look out for when checking your skin for signs of any cancer:

New moles.
Moles that increases in size.
An outline of a mole that becomes notched.
A spot that changes colour from brown to black or is varied.
A spot that becomes raised or develops a lump within it.
The surface of a mole becoming rough, scaly or ulcerated.
Moles that itch or tingle.
Moles that bleed or weep.
Spots that look different from the others.

For further information the cancer council website is a great source and if you have any concerns please book an appointment with a GP