You are in the prime of your life, full of potential, with big dreams for your future. This, as they say, is ‘your time in the sun’. It is also a time when you’re at a high risk of over exposure to UV Radiation, which could cut your time in the sun painfully short.
The star at the centre of our solar system is the most important source of light and life on Earth.
It takes about 8 minutes for the sun’s light to reach us.
Light from the sun contains ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV is both the major cause of skin cancer and the best natural source of Vitamin D. It’s important to remember that for most people, you will get enough Vitamin D through your incidental exposure to the sun.
You and UV
Throughout your life, each time you don’t adequately protect yourself from moderate or higher levels of UV, it can damage your DNA.
Protect your skin
This is your time in the sun.
Don’t cut it short.
Protect your skin in 5 ways:
Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on a pair of sunglasses.
Pretty Shady productions partnered with Australian Director Josh Logue to produce a film dramatising a life cut short by secondary cancer. The film is a powerfully emotional reminder of how precious life is, and why it’s so important to protect your skin.
The people in these films, are people living with cancer. They have volunteered to share their stories in the hope they can help influence you to protect your skin from over exposure to UV Radiation.
UV or UVR
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is generated from the sun and enters our atmosphere. UV is invisible, high-energy radiation, which is capable of causing damage to living organisms. It’s important to remember that UV radiation can be high even on cool and overcast days.
Vitamin D forms in the skin when it is exposed to UV from sunlight. It can also be obtained from some foods. We need vitamin D to maintain good health and to keep bones and muscles strong and healthy.
A balance is required between UV radiation exposure for vitamin D production and protecting the skin from damage and skin cancer.
Most people achieve adequate vitamin D levels through UVB exposure during typical day-to-day outdoor activities.
Moderate UV and above
The UV index is a measure of the level of UV radiation. The values of the index range from zero upward - the higher the UV index, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eye, and the less time it takes for harm to occur.
Exposing your skin to the sun when the UV index is above 3 increases your risk of developing skin cancer.
This is the abbreviation for deoxyribonucleic acid, a self-replicating material which is present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information.
A form of cancer that begins in cells called melanocytes. Melanoma may begin in a mole on the skin, but can begin in other pigmented tissues.
Skin cancer is a benign or malignant cancer in the skin caused by overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
There are three main types of skin cancer:
- basal cell carcinoma
- squamous cell carcinoma
- melanoma – the most dangerous form of skin cancer
Both basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma are known as non-melanoma skin cancer.
Metastasis is the spread of cancer from one part of the body to another. A tumour formed by cells that have spread is called a 'metastatic tumour', 'metastasis' or 'secondary cancer'.
The metastatic tumour contains cells that are like those in the original (primary) tumour. The plural form of metastasis is metastases.
Protect Your Skin In Five Ways
Wear clothes which cover as much of your skin as possible, e.g. a loose shirt with a collar rather than a singlet top. When swimming, wear a wetsuit or rash vest.
Some clothing is specifically designed for sun protection. Sun protective fabric with a Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating of 50+ blocks more than 97.5% of UVA and UVB radiation and provides the highest level of protection.
Sunscreen strength is rated using the sun protection factor (SPF). SPF30+ sunscreens filter out 97 per cent of UV radiation. However, this amount of UV radiation will only be filtered out if enough sunscreen is used and used properly. For an average sized adult a generous amount of sunscreen should be used; approximately 35ml, or seven teaspoons, are needed to cover the body.
Sunscreen should be applied over all areas of exposed skin 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapplied every two hours (sooner if you've been swimming or sweating).
Hats need to provide protection for the face, back of the neck, eyes and ears which are at higher risk of sun damage. A broad-brimmed hat will provide good shade while a baseball cap offers little protection. Find a hat which offers good sun protection but is also practical, well ventilated and suits you.
UV radiation not only damages skin, it also damages eyes. Long term exposure can cause cataracts and skin cancers of various tissues of the eye, so it is important to protect your eyes with sunglasses.
There is an Australian Standard for sunglasses; sunglasses which meet this standard will provide good protection. Using sunglasses which wrap around the face and are close fitting will provide the maximum protection.
Seek shade particularly during the hours of 11am-3pm when the sun's UV rays are their harshest. If this isn't possible, make sure your skin is still well protected by using the following measures.