Summer skin health

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For many of us, summer means endless days at the beach in shorts, skirts and bathing suits – and with that comes a very real threat of skin damage and an increased likelihood of skin cancers.

According to the Medical Journal of Australia, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. Not to mention that sitting in sunlight without sunscreen is one of the easiest ways to speed up the ageing process.

With the advanced beauty and skincare products with SPF available to us now – that actually affect positive changes in our skin to help combat anti-ageing, prevent breakouts and refine the complexion – there is no excuse not to protect your precious skin (and make you look better in the process!).

Taking preventative measures in preparing your skin before sun exposure is non-negotiable. It just might save your life.

Sunscreen and skin ageing

Research published in the Annals of Internal Medicine confirms that regular applications of sunscreen can make a big difference in the appearance of your skin.

Researchers gathered a group of individuals under the age of 55 who applied sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher to their head, neck, arms and hands every morning after bathing, after spending more than a few hours in direct sunlight or after perspiring heavily.

A different group was asked to apply sunscreen ‘at their discretion’, while a control group was given placebo pills or B-carotene supplements daily.

Researchers took impressions of the back of the participants’ hands at the initiation of the study and again 45 years later. These impressions were able to quantify microscopic changes it the skin, including signs of ageing.

The participants who used sunscreen on a daily basis showed 24 percent less skin ageing compared to individuals who were allowed to apply lotion at their own discretion.

UVA vs. UVB rays: What’s the difference?

The UV spectrum on sunlight is continuous and is divided into UVB, UVA and UVC. Ultraviolet A rays constitute 90 to 95 percent of the UV light reaching the Earth. UVA light penetrates the deepest into the skin and is involved in the initial stages of sun tanning. It also tends to suppress the immune function and is implicated in premature ageing of the skin.

Ultraviolet B rays do not penetrate the skin as deeply as UVA rays but are responsible for most of the tissue damage, which results in sunburn, wrinkles and ageing of the skin. Ultraviolet C is lethal to humans and plants, but very little of the sun’s UVC rays actually reach the earth’s surface.

Summer skincare tips

When it comes to skin health across Australia, prevention is the best cure. In addition to following the below tips, it is important to have regular full skin examinations by a specialist dermatologist. Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists have the most advanced diagnostic tools to help maintain healthy skin and ensure your peace of mind.

Essential sun care rules to follow include:

  • Limit exposure to damaging rays of the sun
  • Wear protective hats, clothing, and eye gear
  • Wear and reapply a broad-spectrum sunscreen frequently
  • Check your skin on a regular basis
  • Make the healthy switch from sunbathing to self-tanning lotions

It is important that you examine your body for moles and freckles and check them every few months to see if they look the same. Look for changes in the A-E areas:

  • Asymmetry: One half of a mole or birthmark does not match the other
  • Border: The edges are irregular, ragged, or blurry.
  • Colour: The colour is mottled and may include shades of brown or black
  • Diameter: The spot is larger the size of a pencil eraser.
  • Evolving: The mole is changing in size, shape, or colour.

If you have a changing mole, a flat mole that becomes lumpy, a mole that bleeds or a sore that doesn’t heal, please contact Platinum Dermatology Skin Specialists on (02) 8014 6500 for a consultation.

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