The arrival of summer means that most of us will be spending a lot more time outside—but too much sun bathing can create havoc for our skin. We share our tips to prepare and protect your skin this summer.
The skin is one of the largest and most complex organs of the body, and works hard to protect us from the often-harsh environment we live in. However, many of us tend to neglect our skin without even realising it, which can cause long-term damage as well as premature ageing.
According to Dr Hilary, we should take daily steps to maintain skin that looks and feels healthy. Here are a few of his top tips for a glowing complexion:
Although face wipes are quick and easy to use, they are packed with chemicals that can de-hydrate and irritate skin. It’s best to cleanse using a cream or lotion-based cleanser with cotton wool pads and/or warm water.
Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!
As well as applying sun cream, it’s important to moisturise. A rich moisturizer, packed with essential oils is best, however, if you are prone to spots or have oily skin, you should use a light water-based moisturiser.
Drinking lots of water is vital to keep skin hydrated, especially in the summer when the temperature is higher and we naturally perspire more. Try to avoid alcoholic drinks where possible as they can also dehydrate the skin.
Ditch the cigarettes
Smoking can reduce the natural elasticity of the skin, and causes wrinkles.
As summer approaches and temperatures rise, many of us will be heading outdoors to soak up some sun. However, over-exposure to UV rays can cause damage to the skin and too much time spent catching rays can significantly increase your risk of developing skin cancer.
The most common types of skin cancer are non-melanoma and melanoma.
The main symptom of non-melanoma skin cancer is the appearance of a lump or discoloured patch on the skin that doesn't heal. Basal cell carcinoma (BCC) usually appears as a small red or pink lump, although it can be pearly-white or 'waxy' looking. It can also look like a red, scaly patch. The lump slowly grows and may become crusty, bleed or develop into a painless ulcer. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) appears as a firm pink lump and may have a flat, scaly and crusted surface. The lump is often tender to touch.
Malignant melanoma is the most serious type of skin cancer, and over 13,000 new cases are diagnosed in the UK each year. The condition, which is responsible for 2,000 UK deaths per year, has a much higher risk of spreading to other organs in the body than non-melanoma cancer. The first sign of melanoma is normally a new mole, or change in appearance of an existing mole. Be aware that you may have an increased risk of developing skin cancer if you have lots of moles or freckles, pale skin that burns easily, red or blonde hair or a family member who has had melanoma.
Spot the Difference
Use Dr Hilary’s helpful ‘ABCDE’ checklist to spot the difference between a mole and a melanoma:
Asymmetrical: melanomas have two very different halves and are an irregular shape
Border: melanomas have a notched or ragged border
Colours: melanomas will be a mix of two or more colours
Diameter: melanomas are larger than 6mm in diameter
Enlargement or elevation: a mole that changes size over time is more likely to be a melanoma
Sun Block Essentials
To minimise your risk of skin cancer, it is important to protect your skin from the sun’s UV rays. Although our bodies need a small amount of sun to maintain levels of vitamin D, over-exposure can damage the skin and increase the likelihood of wrinkles.
To avoid getting sun burnt:
- Stay out of the heat: If possible, stay out of the sun when it’s at its hottest between 11am and 3pm
- Wear sun cream: Use a sun cream with a minimum SPF of 15, and ensure it blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) rays. It is most effective when applied 15 minutes before sun exposure, and re-applied every two hours.
- Cover up: If you can’t avoid being in the sun, wear clothes that will protect your skin. Cover your shoulders, wear a hat to protect your face and sunglasses to protect your eyes.