Dr Rasha
Dr Rasha

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SPF And Skin Cancer: How To Protect Yourself This Summer And Beyond


As much as we all love the sun and spending time outdoors, our skin doesn’t always take to it so kindly. Failure to protect your skin from the sun can go far beyond sunburn and as May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, now is the perfect time to brush up on your SPF knowledge.

Skin cancer and SPF go hand in hand – it’s hard to talk about one and not the other. Back in 2018, the UK had the fourteenth highest rate of skin cancer diagnoses in the world, which may seem surprising for a country that only sees an average of 1495 hours of sun per year. Even if the sun doesn’t shine, the dangers of skin cancer are still as present as ever but there are ways to protect yourself.

What Is SPF?

SPF stands for sun protection factor and is used by manufacturers to describe the level of protection a product offers your skin. Dermatologists recommend using products with SPF 30 as an absolute minimum as this will provide your skin with protection from the sun’s rays, but the SPF you should use ultimately depends on you as a person. The sun emits UVA and UVB rays, both of which have the potential to damage the skin and contribute to premature ageing.

If you are pale, freckly, and more likely to burn after being exposed to the sun, you should be using stronger SPF products. If you have darker skin and don’t burn very often, SPF 30 is still advised. Just remember, whether you’re susceptible to sun damage or not, everyone should apply SPF on a daily basis.

Yes – daily! UVA rays can penetrate clouds and glass, so if you’re only leaving the house for a little while or you’re sunning yourself indoors, you should always protect your exposed skin. In recent years, there has been a lot of discussion around whether or not SPF in makeup is enough, but experts suggest that it isn’t. SPF deserves to have its own spot in your skincare routine and this will ensure that you are provided with the most protection.

What Does SPF Have To Do With Skin Cancer?

When your skin burns, it becomes tender, red and uncomfortable. This short-term discomfort is mainly caused by UVB rays and it’s your skin’s way of warning you against potential long-term damage. The more you get sunburnt, the less able your skin is to repair itself. Lack of SPF protection and overexposure to the sun can result in premature ageing and even skin cancer.

Using SPF, whether it’s in specifically formulated moisturisers or suncream (sunscreen) is the most effective way to lower your risk of contracting skin cancer. Always endeavour to

protect any exposed skin from the sun as the most common types of skin cancer – melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma – often form on the face, neck, hands and arms. To lower your risk further you could try and avoid the sun during peak hours (11am – 3pm), cover as much skin as you can with light clothing and stay away from tanning beds.

Using tanning beds increases a person under thirty’s risk of developing certain types of skin cancer by 75%. Nothing is ever certain, but as long as you take every precaution you can, you can not only decrease your risk of contracting skin cancer but you will also keep your skin looking youthful for longer.

Beyond SPF, What To Do Next

If you do not exhibit any signs of skin cancer, such as an irregular mole that has recently changed in size, shape or colour, but your skin has been compromised by the sun, Dr Rasha can help. She provides a number of treatments, such as dermal fillers and laser therapy, that can target wrinkles, fine lines, pigmentation irregularities (such as ‘age spots’) and sagging skin. If you have noticed any changes to your skin such as a new or strange-looking mole, you should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Dr Rasha’s hyaluronic acid-based dermal fillers smooth wrinkles by increasing the skin’s natural supply of hyaluronic acid, stimulating the production of connective tissues in the skin. Dermal fillers plump areas that have lost their elasticity over time and help to create an overall more youthful appearance.

If irregular pigmentation is a particular worry for you, M22 Laser treatment is also available. Known as the ‘gold standard of skin resurfacing, the M22 can be used all over the body to target pigmentation issues, melasma and fine lines amongst other concerns and also promotes collagen production to dramatically improve skin quality.

Book Today

If you are looking to reinvigorate your skin following a lifetime of sun exposure, book in for your treatment today by calling us on 0203 746 2211 or 07511 107 511. Alternatively, you can visit our website or email us at info@drrashaclinic.com.