Are you finding Sun a mixed blessing?
I LOVE the Sun! But do realise it does your skin no favours; if not careful you can end up looking like a ‘dried prune’. There is a famous TV travel programme presenter, who loved having a tan, but ended up with a raddled face criss-crossed with deep cracks all over – not a pretty sight.
As Cancer Survivors we have to be extra vigilant protecting our skin. Yes, we need to get out in the sun and get its benefits whilst we can; we need Vitamin D the sun gives us. But this doesn’t mean that we should neglect our skin.
If we want to have smooth, fresh skin next winter, we need to be extra vigilant now. Beware not only of wind, heat and pollution but, most important, ‘wear and tear’ from drying out. And this can happen even if we are sheltered under an umbrella. Especially if you are by the sea, next to white walls or concrete, be aware that the sun’s rays can be reflected off their surfaces, ensuring the atmosphere is extra-dry, which also does skin no favours.
Facing up to problems
Looking in the mirror, if you notice lines around the eyes, lips, on the cheeks, etc. or sludgy skin, it’s time for repairs – and fast.
I have taken to using a strong night cream developed for older skns. This gives me an extra boost of hydration, my face has lost its ‘gritty’ feel and gone back to smooth plumpness.
For fine lines under the eyes, I pat on an eye cream such as Anthelios Eye cream, which not only smooths out nasty lines, but it also has the benefit of SPF50+, which has got to be good. Be aware of SPF content (sun protection factor) which should be as high as possible – at least SPF15. Over SPF30 is best for the face, especially in summer.
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) currently runs national campaigns around skin cancer called Sun Awareness, overseen by the BAD’s Skin Cancer Prevention Committee, comprised of leading medical professionals with expertise in skin cancer, vitamin D and public health messaging.
British Association of Dermatologists‘ campaign is two-pronged and combines prevention and detection advice.
- The first aim is to encourage people to regularly self-examine for skin cancer.
- The second is to teach people about the dangers of sunburn and excessive tanning,
- To discourage people from using sunbeds, in light of the associated risks of skin cancer.
In addition to public education about the dangers of sunbed use, the BAD has also been involved in campaigning for legislation to regulate the sunbed industry and is continuing to push towards further and improved regulation.
They are very helpful : www.bad.org.uk
Those Beauty Consultants behind the counters in posh stores – the ones with the perfect skins – keep them that way by wearing a foundation with an SPF of at least 15 EVERY day (Winter as well), or they wear a sunscreen.
If you qualify for free prescriptions, certain of the French skincare company La Roche Posay (LRP)’s Anthelios range are approved by NICE, so you can get these for free. Not every doctor knows this, so you must be persistent. Before they sold out to the giant L’Oreal cosmetics company, LRP were noted for their skincare clinically-trialled and developed for cancer patients.
If you were French, and had cancer, you could obtain LRP products on prescription for certain cancers. Now, L’Oreal has distanced itself from this side, possibly feeling that to be associated with a clinical product takes away from the glamour of the beauty industry. But it is still as good, especially their Anthelios suncare range.
NICE has approved some Anthelios products, so it is worthwhile asking your doctor what they can prescribe.
Remember – the hotter the sun, the more often you need to re-apply suncream. Don’t think one application in the morning will be enough. To keep your skin looking good, you need to re-apply sunscrean every hour to two hours during the middle of the day (usually 11 am – 4 pm). And even if the day is overcast, the sun’s rays are strong, so keep re-applying. Being on water, especially sea, can intensify rays, so slap on extra protection.
It makes economic sense to buy sun creams in the biggest size you can.
And remember by water, concrete and especially white walls, even if you are under a parasol or shelter, the sun’s rays are capable of reflecting off these surfaces, so use more cream.
N.B Don’t forget to drink extra glasses of water every day, to keep your skin hydrated from inside and out.