Sun safety & Non-melanoma skin cancer

As non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland, with over 10,000 cases a year and rapidly increasing in frequency, we wanted to share some basic sun-care tips to ensure that you’re protected this week during our expected ‘heatwave’!

The most common forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC). Skin cancer occurs when cells in the skin become damaged over many years, usually from UV in sunlight. The damaged cells grow unchecked, leading to the development of a tumour, or lump in the skin. If left untreated, some types of NMSC can spread to other parts of the body but thankfully NMSC can almost always be completely cured and treated early.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is not always preventable but you can reduce your chance of developing it by avoiding overexposure to UV light. When you’re in the sun, as well as retreating to the shade often, don’t forget to:

- Apply at least one teaspoon of sun cream per each body part – face, each arm, each leg, your front and your back.

- SPF your ears, neck, nose, the top of your feet and scalp (especially if you’re thinning).

- Apply sunscreen at least 20-30 minutes before you go into the sun

- Top up every 2 hours, after being in water or after exercising.

Physical sunscreens, which contain Zinc oxide or Titanium dioxide are our favourites as they block UVA rays more efficiently, acting as a shield for your skin. For the face, we recommend @eltamdskincare Clear (also available in a tinted formulation), EltaMD Replenish, containing Hyaluronic acid, as well as @Revisionskincare Intellishade Truphysical.

Consult with your GP or dermatologist immediately if you have any skin abnormality, such as a lump, ulcer, lesion or skin discolouration that has not healed after 4 weeks. While it's unlikely to be skin cancer, it's always best to get checked.