UV radiation is linked to more cancers worldwide than any other carcinogen. Skin cancer accounts for 80% of all new cancer diagnoses in Australia. I am often perplexed at the number of people I encounter who are worried about preservatives, chemicals in food, nanoparticles in sunscreen, and various other ‘nasties.’ None of these have any scientific backing to suggest they pose any risk to health, let alone cancer. We do know with great scientific vigour, that the greater risk is the harmful rays of our sun.
Sunburn causes 95% of melanoma according to cancer council Victoria. So it makes sense to protect yourself against something you know will do you damage.
So how do you stay safe?
Well avoiding the sun is one option. But What about Vitamin D? Well, the Cancer Council Victoria suggests that as we don't know the safe level of UV exposure to get Vitamin D conversion, then you are better off staying out of it. If you are low in Vitamin D, they suggest taking a supplement.
Always use a sunscreen with high SPF.
UVB is responsible for most of the skin damage. SPF – Sun protection factor - was a system devised to designate topical preparations and their ability to protect the skin from UV exposure.
So what’s in the number?
The SPF number is the length of time your skin can be exposed to UV before it becomes red. For example, an SPF of 15, means you can stay out 15 times longer in the sun before going red, then without sunscreen. An SPF of 50+ means, 50 times longer.
So if it only takes you 2 mins to get red in the sun, then wearing 15 + means you can stay out for half an hour. Wearing 50+ means you get over an hour and a half.
In my book there really is no reason NOT to wear sunscreen. We know it can reduce your risk of burning. And we know burning causes skin cancer. So you see it is pretty simple.