08 May Suffering with sunburn this week?
MlWith the weather warming up, it’s no surprise to see people with a reddish glow to their skin, but while soaking up the sun may seem like a good idea at the time, sun burn can leave us feeling a little too cooked and can result in serious problems in the long term.
Sunburn is a form of radiation burn that affects living tissue; in our case, our skin gets burnt from the overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Sunburn can range from minor to more severe where blistering occurs, in rare cases, extreme sunburn can be painful to the point of debilitation and may require hospital care.
Protective measures should be taken while going out in the sun, such as sun cream or protective clothing. Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes, which means a short walk can leave you feeling a little tender.
After sun exposure, your skin may turn red in as little as 30minutes, but more often it usually takes around 2 to 6 hours. Pain is usually at its highest 6 to 48 hours after exposure, the burn will then continue to develop for 1 to 3 days. This can be followed by peeling skin in 3 to 8 days.
Sunburn isn’t pleasant and repeated exposure to UV radiation can lead to serious issues in the future. Ultraviolet radiation not only causes sunburn, but also increases the risk of three different types of skin cancer:
Sunburn is just a short-term risk of sun exposure, longer-term risks over time include:
- Scaly and rough pre-cancerous spots on the skin(solar/ actinic keratosis)
- Skin cancer- both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer
- Damage to the eyes from UV rays
- Premature ageing and wrinkling of the skin.
In 2016, 2,285 people* died as a result of skin cancer, with it being estimated that 82% of diagnosed skin cancer cases could have been prevented with regular sunscreen use or other protective measures from the sun.
Spotting the warning signs of skin cancer early can make it more easily treatable. Doctors advise that you check your skin carefully at home about once a month to identify any changes.
A good way of self-checking your skin will be using the “ABCDE” rule to look for some of the common signs of melanoma (one of the deadliest forms of skin cancer).
The colour of your mole is not the same all over and may include shades or black or brown, sometimes with patches of red, pink, white or blue.
Checking the size of spots or moles can help spot skin cancer, especially if the mole is larger than ¼ inch (0.75cm) across.
A mole that is changing in appearance, this could be size, shape or colour.
Checking your moles should be high priority when checking your skin, as well as looking for any changes to your skin or the appearance of new markings. If you’re worried about the appearance of a mole but still unsure how to check it, take a look at our mole mapping service. We can perform a full body mole mapping service to give you peace of mind.
Basal and squamous cell skin cancers are much more common than melanoma. They usually appear on areas that get the most sun such as the face, neck and head, but they can show up anywhere on the body. The most obvious signs of Basal and squamous cell skin cancers and the things to look out for are:
- Flat, firm, pale or yellow areas, similar to a scar
- Raised reddish patches that might be itchy
- Small, pink or red, translucent, shiny, pearly bumps, which might have blue, brown, or black areas
- Pink growths with raised edges and a lower area in their centre, which might contain abnormal blood vessels spreading out like the spokes of a wheel
- Open sores (which may have oozing or crusted areas) that don’t heal, or that heal and then come back
- Rough or scaly red patches, which might crust or bleed
- Raised growths or lumps, sometimes with a lower area in the centre
- Wart-like growths
It’s important to note that skin cancer can affect everyone differently and the appearance of moles or the descriptions seen here can differ, other skin changes to keep an eye out for include:
- Any new spots
- Any spot that differs in appearance to others on your body
- Any sore that doesn’t heal
- Redness or swelling beyond the border of a mole
- Itching, pain or tenderness of the skin
- Oozing, scaliness or bleeding on the skin
If you’re concerned about the appearance of anything on your skin, please contact us for a consultation where we can identify, diagnose and excise any suspicious moles, but most importantly, give you peace of mind from a dermatologist you can trust.
*Statistics taken from Cancer Research UK