Dermatologist warns: No healthy tan in Wales weather

A dermatologist who handles hundreds of skin cancer cases annually emphasizes that there is no such thing as a healthy tan.

During their lifetime, approximately one in four men and one in five women in the UK will receive a skin cancer diagnosis.

In Wales, skin cancer constitutes 47% of all cancers, the highest rate among all UK nations. The primary cause of this damage is overexposure to ultraviolet radiation (UV) from the sun.

According to Dr. Rachel Abbott, consultant dermatologist at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff, a healthy fake tan is indeed possible.

However, to achieve a tan in the skin, you must cause damage to the DNA in your skin cells. Thus, getting a healthy tan from the sun or a sunbed is not possible.”

Excessive UV exposure can result in tanning, sunburn, premature aging, and eye damage. Moreover, it is the primary cause of skin cancer.

UV radiation is invisible and imperceptible to our senses, and high UV levels are not dependent on hot weather. Even on cloudy days, we can still experience sunburn due to elevated UV levels.

Dr. Abbott highlighted that medical professionals express specific concerns about UVB and UVA, which are two components of the UV spectrum.

She explained that they are cognizant of the fact that UVB and UVA can cause damage to the cells in our skin, and this damage can accumulate over time. As our immune systems become less effective with age, the risk of skin cancer increases.

While some sun exposure is necessary to obtain vitamin D, which supports bone health, it does not imply that people need to spend extended hours in the sun.

Dr. Abbott stated that in the UK, between April and September, it takes approximately 15 to 30 minutes of sun exposure to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin D.

Even when wearing high-factor sun cream, we can still obtain the benefits of vitamin D. According to Dr. Abbott, applying two tablespoons (30ml) of sun cream is the recommended amount to cover your body.

Dr. Abbott recommended that if you lack a tablespoon, applying sunscreen on your two fingers and then spreading it should be adequate for your entire body. For the head and neck, a teaspoon-sized amount is sufficient.

Dr. Abbott added that factor-30 protection blocks about 97% of UVB rays when applied properly, while factor 50 blocks about 98%. She emphasized that the key factor is ensuring you apply enough sunscreen, regardless of the specific SPF level.



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By Ryan

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