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Many women shun suntan lotion when abroad

A recent survey by Macmillan Cancer Support will alarm many of our cancer travel insurance customers.  Macmillan surveyed 1500 women, and astonishingly 22% of those surveyed admitted that they did not wear sun cream when on holiday in a hot country.

According to Macmillan’s web site over 2500 people die of skin cancer every year, so this issue is very real.  Many of our travel insurance with cancer cover customers will be aware of the risks of sunburn; however we would like to remind our medical travel insurance customers of the importance of sun safety.   We are not suggesting you sit indoors or completely cover up when outside.  Sunshine is good for us, it provides our body with vitamin D, but take care, the sun particularly abroad car burn your skin very quickly, and this is type of skin damage that could increase your risk of developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is painless and it develops slowly – it can appear anywhere on your  body but is most likely to develop on your face, neck, or any regularly exposed skin.Many women who don’t use sunscreen whilst abroad and in the sun give multiple reasons for not covering up, such as those listed below:

  • To avoid breaking out in spots – some sunscreens are thick and can contain oils, which can cause breakouts in some people. To fix this, find a suncream which are oil-free or made especially for the face, as they contain ingredients which are kinder to skin but still protect you from the sun.
  • To get a better tan – some sun-lovers reckon they get a deeper tan without the extra layer of sunscreen being in the way, however, there are plenty of less-risky alternatives to exposing yourself to UV rays for prolonged amounts of time.
  • Because skin cancer doesn’t run in your family – skin cancer isn’t hereditary, it can happen to anyone at any time and everyone who is in the sun without the right protection is at risk.
  • Because you never burn, and sunburn only leads to skin cancer. Whilst you might not go the same shade of lobster-red most of us do whilst we’re away, doesn’t mean you’re at any less risk – you’re still exposing yourself to the same amount of dangerous UV rays.
  • To avoid the chemicals contained in sunscreen. Whilst exposing yourself to something natural like the sun might seem preferable to smothering yourself in chemical sunscreen, you may not be aware of the damage you’re doing. Whilst sunscreen only effects the top few layers of skin, UV rays can penetrate a lot deeper and do a lot more long-lasting damage.
  • It’s cloudy or you’re in water. Being in both of these situations means that whilst the sun isn’t directly shining on you, it’s still reflecting off of your surroundings. You can still get burnt even when you feel covered, and even when it seems chilly!
To stay safe in the sun, always wear sunscreen with a minimum sun protection factor (spf) 30 and apply generously and regularly, on sunny days try and stay in the shade between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its hottest and most dangerous.  With babies and young children, keep them out of direct sunlight and make sure they wear a minimum of 50 spf sunscreen, even in the shade.

It’s lovely to see the sun and it makes us all feel better, and by following the above advice and that on The BritishAssociation of Dermatologists web site we can all enjoy it safely.


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