The highly anticipated UK 'Summer' is fast approaching, and as the grey clouds clear and the rain holds off for approximately 3 hours, it's completely natural to seek out sunny outdoor spaces to spend your days off.
Is sunlight good for us?
Exposure to sunlight can benefit our mental health as well as our physical health, by providing Vitamin D to keep our bones strong - preventing osteoporosis as we age, aiding sleep quality and reducing the impact of depression and seasonal affective disorder.
What's the bad news?
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news but, without protection, the benefits of sunlight really do stop there. The sun also provides harmful UVA and UVB rays which can contribute to the formation of skin cancers, premature ageing and eye irritation if proper sun protection is not used and sun-safety tips are not followed. When the skin becomes burnt, the colour produced results from damage to the DNA of skin cells and during tanning the skin attempts to protect itself from the sun's UV radiation by utilising the dark brown pigment, Melanin, to dissipate the UV rays.
What should I do to protect my skin from skin cancer and other harm?
What does skin cancer look like?
Any changes to patches of skin, moles or freckles can be the first sign that skin cancer may be occurring. If you detect that any changes are occurring, show the affected area to your GP as soon as possible as they will be able to refer you to a dermatologist should you require it. Changes can also happen to a normal patch of skin, including development of a scaly or crusty growth that bleeds, or a sore that doesn’t heal.
Click below for a useful slideshow from the NHS website to depict what changes to moles that you should look out for.
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'Medical Matters' is our new collection of concise yet informative mini blogs about common medical topics. A different topic will be chosen every few weeks, and will be broken down into 'all-you-need-to-know' bites, from a GP's perspective.
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