No tan is a healthy tan. New guidance from the National Institute for Health Care and Excellence, (NICE) warns that there is no safe or healthy way to get a tan from sunlight.
The health watchdog’s latest guidance also suggests that an existing tan provides little protection against new sun exposure. It also recommends we use a minimum of factor 15-sun cream, with adults urged to use between 6-8 teaspoons (35ml) per application. Any benefits of building up Vitamin D from the sun has to be balanced with the risks of skin cancer.
Recently, Hugh Jackman has spoken out about his own person struggles with the disease after having had several sun-related cancerous growths removed and is now urging others to get regular skin checks and to wear sunscreen. This should be something we do religiously, incorporating it into a healthier lifestyle.
Although many people in the UK have low levels of Vitamin D and some exposure to sunlight is needed, it’s important we learn and understand how to balance the risks between one and the other.
It’s impossible for us to get enough Vitamin D between the months of October and March in the UK, it’s also not possible for us to get the same levels of Vitamin D sat next to a closed sunny window.
We must think about the following:
- Apply enough sunscreen for a safe tan, but not too thinly as that reduces the amount of protection it gives;
- Don’t sit out between the hours of 11am and 3pm, which is the hottest time of the day;
- Factor 30 sunscreens although they offer protection, doesn’t mean people can spend longer in the sun;
- Continue to apply sunscreen at intervals, after being in the water, after sweating, after towelling dry and if and when the sunscreen rubs off;
- Cream should be applied half an hour before going out into the sun and then again before sitting out in the sun;
- Babies and children, who are either fair skinned, or have freckles, as should those with a family history of skin cancer;
- If you are out in the sun exposure your skin gradually so that you’re not sat outside for hours and build up your tan;
- Those with fair skin who are constantly exposed to the sun because of their jobs are more at risk of sun damage and skin cancer.
Finally, the sun not only changes our DNA, which means we’re more susceptible to skin cancer and the effects of the disease, but the sun also ages us and our skin prematurely, as in effect we’re living with damaged skin. It’s also important regardless of whether we’re sunbathing to wear an SPF on the face.