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Sun Awareness Week 2024

To coincide with Sun Awareness Week, we find out more about ultraviolet rays and how they cause damage to our skin. This damage may cause problems many years later, so it is important to get into good habits early.  Sun Awareness Week is also an opportunity to learn more about checking moles and being aware of our own skin.

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UV rays and sun protection

1. Know the difference between UVA and UVB
Ultraviolet radiation is released naturally from the sun, and artificially from sunbeds. Too much exposure to UV radiation is the main cause of skin cancer in the UK. Both UVA and UVB can damage our skin and cause skin cancer. UVB rays reach the outer layer of the skin (epidermis) and causes sunburn. It tends to be more intense in the summer months. UVA reaches deeper into the skin, and is responsible for premature aging. UVA is present all year round, even on a cloudy day.

2.Use sun protection all year round
In order to protect our skin, we should be using SPF all year round. If this becomes part of your routine, it is easier to remember, and also means you are less likely to get caught out if the sun comes out later in the day. There are so many sunscreens available (including chemical and mineral) for different skin types, so find one that suits your skin and you enjoy using. Make sure it has good UVA protection as well as UVB. Remember to apply sufficient quantity as the last step in your routine, and reapply during the day as required. At Fuarain, we consciously do not include SPF in our Super Active Moisture Cream, as we feel it is best to have SPF as a separate step. However the cream acts as a perfect base for SPF application. 

3. Take sensible steps to protect your skin
You can also protect your skin with clothing and a hat, plus sunglasses, both at home, and importantly on a sunny holiday. Remember to avoid the midday sun when it is at its strongest, and spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm. Remember to reapply sunscreen after swimming. Keep babies and young children safe by keeping them out of direct sunlight. Much of the UV damage can take place before the age of 18, but it can take decades for the signs to develop.

4. Avoid sunbeds
Sunbeds produce artificial UV radiation and are linked with both premature aging and also skin cancer. It is really important to avoid using them. Instead, try a self-tanner if you want to achieve a golden glow. 

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Skin cancer detection

Incidence of skin cancer is rising in the UK, on a worrying trajectory. Some skin cancers are commoner as we get older, but melanoma, which is the potentially most serious form, can affect younger people. We have to avoid sunburn and excessive cumulative UV exposure, but it is also important to be aware of signs and symptoms of skin cancer. Remembering the ABCDEF guide can be useful…


A - has the mole become asymmetrical
B - is the border irregular
C - are there more than two colours present
D - is the mole darker than other moles
E - is the mole evolving/changing eg rapid doubling in size
F - is the mole 'funny looking' compared to other moles

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If you have any concerns, then make an appointment to see your GP, who can then refer you to a dermatologist if necessary. Early detection is key, and can significantly improve the outlook in melanoma.