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Protect yourself from the sun

This month the British Association of Dermatologists are working hard to raise awareness of skin cancer and how to look after your skin in the sun. We’ve been inspired by Sun Awareness Week and the hot and sunny weather to share some tips on how to protect yourself from the sun. Many thanks to the British Association of Dermatologists for all the useful information – find out more here

Sun damage explained

A tan is actually a sign that the skin has been damaged and is trying to protect itself. We need to protect ourselves against UVA and UVB radiation from the sun, by using good quality sunscreen and limiting our sun exposure. You should use a minimum of SPF 30, plus sunscreen with high protection against UVA radiation, apply generously and reapply when required. 

Sun burn significantly increases your risk of developing skin cancer and also prematurely ages the skin. Those most at risk of developing skin cancer are people with pale skin who are prone to burning, those who have suffered severe sunburn, those with a high number of moles and a family history of melanoma.

How to protect against sun damage

It’s easy to protect yourself against sun damage and reduce your risk of skin cancer, but many of us living in Spain seek out the sun and stay in it for much too long.

Protect yourself with clothing such as light shirts or trousers, wear a hat and use sunglasses with high UV protection.

Seek out shade, particularly between 11am and 3pm.

Use a high protection SPF sunscreen which also blocks UVA rays, put it on 15 minutes before going into the sun and apply every 2 hours.

Signs of skin cancer

You should check yourself regularly to make sure skin cancer is caught early. Look out for –

  • Scabs or sores that won’t heal
  • Scaly or crusty patch of skin which is red or inflamed
  • Flesh coloured lump that won’t go away
  • A lump on the skin which is getting bigger and could be scabby
  • A growth with a pearly rim surrounding a central crater

Those of us who have relocated to the Costa del Sol and are renting long term, have often moved here for the sunshine and tend to spend more time in the sun. This can make you more at risk of skin cancer. If you spot any of these signs, or changes in moles or your skin in general, go and see your doctor as soon as possible. The sooner it is diagnosed the easier it is to treat.

Find out more about the sun awareness campaign and download leaflets and guides on the British Association of Dermatologists website.