Are you sun safe?
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. Over time, sunburn damage can build up, and lead to the development of skin cancer or melanoma and other sun-related illnesses.

Who is at risk?
Everyone is at risk from the effects of the sun, although some are more susceptible than others. You are more at risk if you:
  • have fair skin that burns in strong sun
  • have red or fair hair
  • have lots of moles and freckles
  • have a personal or family history of skin cancer
  • work or spend a lot of time outdoors
  • use tanning machines or tanning beds

Children are at particular risk. Babies under 6 months old should be kept out of the sun completely as their skin can’t produce enough melanin to protect them from UV light.
Most dermatologists believe there is a link between childhood sunburn and malignant melanoma later in life.
Additional sun hazards
Blinded by the light
Scientists have found that people who are exposed to high levels of sunlight are up to four times more likely to develop cataracts - the world’s leading cause of blindness.

Allergic reaction
Some people are more sensitive to sunlight than others. The most common reaction of all sun allergies is called ‘polymorphic light eruption’ (PLE). Often confused with prickly heat, PLE appears as small red, itchy eruptions on the skin. A rash can occur even from exposure to sun through windows.

This allergy is more common in adult women than men, usually appearing from late teens to 40s.
Aloe Vera skin gel can reduce the heat and soothe the itch and in more extreme cases a low dose of hydrocortisone cream from your doctor will relieve the itch.
Antihistamines can also provide some relief.