These days we are becoming increasingly aware of the dangers of posed by overexposure to the sun, not least that our risk of contracting melanoma actually doubles if we have had five or more cases of sunburn. In fact, one severe episode early on in life can have the same impact.
Sadly, becoming sunburned is far more common than it should be. Despite multiple high-profile health campaigns highlighting the dangers, it is estimated that over 40% of us are getting sunburned every year.
Understanding how sunburn can heighten the risk of skin cancer is key. The most frequently contracted skin cancers – squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma – both have a direct link to a build-up of sun exposure over a period of many years.
Unsurprisingly, the most common areas of the body affected by these particular cancers are those that are most often exposed to the sun without protection: the hands, ears, face and back. Using a sun cream applicator is a great way of ensuring that the hard-to-reach back area is thoroughly covered with your preferred sun lotion. Do remember though that it is possible for these cancers to present on other areas of the body, so if you are worried about any skin changes, you should always consult your GP.
Melanoma deviates from this pattern. It is thought that the main risk factor in developing melanoma is of one severe episode of sunburn in early life. There are other predisposing factors, including a family history of the disease, having a large number of significant moles and skin type. Melanoma can present on any location on the body, whether or not that area has been affected by a sunburn in the past.
The very best thing you can do to protect against skin cancer is simple so be sun aware and do not burn. Avoid the sun at the hottest times (between midday and 3.00pm in particular). Wear a hat and sunglasses and keep track of how much sun you have had and never, ever fall asleep in the sun.
Always protect yourself with a good quality, broad spectrum sunscreen, and apply it properly and frequently, re-applying at least every two hours. Many people fall at this hurdle as they simply so not apply enough product to get the protection offered by their sunscreen.
It is imperative to make sure that all exposed areas of your body are covered. Don’t forget areas such as the hairline, ears, feet and, critically, the back. Using a BackBliss sun cream applicator is the ideal way to make sure that this vulnerable area is well protected.
Finally, know your skin. Picking up on any unusual changes means that potential problems can be picked up early, and treated successfully. Keep an eye on any moles and get a friend or partner to check inaccessible areas including your back. Being skin-aware and having a sensible and comprehensive attitude to sun protection could save your life.