Sydney Beauty & Dermal Institute (SBDI) has been dedicated to training the highest standard of beauty therapy for over 30 years, to help practitioners in the health and beauty industry help you take care of yourselves.
With summer steadily approaching, we are continuing to help you look after yourselves, with a few timely reminders regarding the importance of sun protection on the brink of our scorching summer season.
Sobering skin cancer statistics
Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia today, with skin cancers accounting for around 80 percent of all new cancers diagnosed each year.
With two out of every three Australians facing skin cancer by the age of 70, we have one of the highest rates of skin cancer anywhere in the world. Over 750,000 Australians are treated for skin cancer each year – that’s a staggering 2000+ people every day.
Around 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year.
Prevention is better than cure
The sad fact is; skin cancer is largely preventable.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the major cause of skin cancer and skin can burn in just 15 minutes under our summer sun. UV radiation can be high even on cool or overcast days. This means you can’t rely on sunny skies or top temperatures to indicate when you need to protect yourself.
SBDI offers what we think is simple advice to help you minimise your risk of developing skin cancer in the future.
- Be UV alert
You need to be extra careful in the middle of the day when UV levels are at their most intense. This includes avoiding being outdoors at this time of day if possible and covering up if being outside is a must.
We recommend using the SunSmart UV Alert to give you daily updates on when you need to be most careful. It’s featured on the weather page of most daily newspapers, on the Cancer Council homepage and can also be found at the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).
- Don’t use solariums or sunbeds. Ever.
Conclusive studies have been done linking sunbed usage and skin cancer. And when you consider that solariums emit harmful levels of UV radiation up to five times as strong as the midday summer sun, it is little wonder that the risk is so great.
We urge you to do yourselves a favour and invest in a quality spray tan. These days, a good spray tan affords your skin a natural, sun kissed glow without the damage.
- Get Checked
Check your skin regularly and see your doctor if you notice any unusual skin activity or changes in appearance. This may include; a lesion that doesn’t heal, a mole that has instantly appeared, changed in size, thickness, shape, colour or has started to bleed. In these cases, you should see your doctor immediately. Treatment is more likely to be successful if skin cancer is detected early.
Advice from Cancer Council Australia
Anyone growing up in Australia would be familiar with the Cancer Council’s Slip, Slop, Slap education and awareness campaign. Well it still exists and it’s still relevant, with a few additions thrown in.
So take the advice from the experts and when the UV level rates at three or above, protect yourself against skin cancer by using these five simple steps:
1. Slip on sun protective clothing
To best protect yourself from burning rays, always try and choose clothing that:
- Covers as much skin as possible;
- Is made from close weave, lightweight materials such as cotton, combination cotton/polyester or linen; and
- Is made from materials such as lycra which offers sun protection even when wet, if you plan to be swimming in it.
2. Slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen
The best sunscreens are both broad spectrum and water-resistant. Don’t use sunscreen to prolong your tanning time and always use with other forms of protection as well. Cancer Council Australia recommends applying sunscreen liberally to clean, dry skin at least 20 minutes before you go outside and reapplying every two hours.
3. Slap on a hat
Your face, nose, neck and ears are common sites for skin cancers, so choose a hat that offers thorough protection of these areas. Caps and visors do not usually provide adequate protection. Choose a hat made with closely woven fabric and remember the rule; if you can see through it, UV radiation can get through too. Hats may not protect you from reflected UV radiation, so wear them together with sunglasses and sunscreen.
4. Seek shade
When outdoors in the summer months, seeking time in the shade is an effective way to reduce your sun exposure. Use trees or built structures, or bring your own! Whatever you use, make sure it casts a dark shadow and always use other protection (such as clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen) to avoid reflected UV radiation from nearby surfaces.
5. Slide on some sunglasses
The Cancer Council tells us sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat worn together can reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98 percent. Always wear your sunnies outside during daylight hours (also good for avoiding crow’s feet). In terms of style, try and choose close-fitting, wrap-around models that meet the Australian Standard AS 1067.
Sharing is caring
For most of you, these simple tips are merely reminders of what you already know. But you can never be too careful and awareness is often the best prevention. So share with someone you care about today.
From the team at SBDI: please be vigilant about protecting yourselves from the sun and remember to get regular checks to spot any early signs of skin cancer.