Wednesday 8 July 2015

Love The Skin You're In

Today I'm going to chat to you all about something quite different to what I normally do, and that is the topic of sun and the effects it has on the skin, especially cancer and aging. Writing a post like this is a good way to raise awareness about the topics I'm going to cover, so please do keep reading; it may make you think and it may interest you too.
I promise you now, this isn't a naggy post about suncream and hats - I'm not trying to be your mother - it's just a topic that I feel strongly about and has affected a few close relatives in my family.
As the height of summer draws near every year, I always see tons of posts promoting tanning. By all means, post a 'fake tanning routine' if your viewers/readers are in need of a few pointers, but what niggles me is how people are now obsessed with being an un-natural 5 foundation shades darker. What's wrong with being fair skinned? Pale is beautiful. If you're naturally pale, then you're naturally pale. You have a beautiful creamy complexion that looks gorgeous and striking with a red lippie and brunette/blonde hair, you don't need to turn yourself into a wotsit just because your friends have olive toned skin in their DNA.
If you absolutely feel the need to be tanned, YES DO IT WITH A BOTTLE. Don't dowse yourself in oil and lie in the midday sun, as your skin will literally fry - the sun is a carcinogen, like smoking. Definitely don't use a sunbed; that's actually worse than sunbathing! If you want to find out more about sunbeds, read here, but basically, sunbeds give out massive amounts of UV (ultraviolet) rays.

A common misconception is that people that 'don't burn. Ever.' (which yes, you will, you'll just eventually go a hot pinky brown that will flake), think that nothing bad will ever happen to them. Skin cancer, burning, wrinkles and just damage can happen to ANYONE. Without getting too sciency, 5% of the sun's rays are UVB, which are the ones that burn you, and the other 95% are the UVA, tanning causing, wrinkle causing and skin cancer causing rays. That obviously is a massive majority to the UVA! You may tan easily, but a tan is the body's final attempt to protect itself from damage. You can still get a melanoma, which is a form of skin cancer that has occurred in my family. My family are fair haired, fair skinned, and hyper-moley. Melanoma grows in pigmented skin cells - for example, moles - and being covered with a few hundred of them certainly means we are more at risk, but we have checkups with a consultant to make sure none have turned cancerous. If you have an area of skin or a mole that you are particularly worried about, then do go and see a doctor. It may be because it's become an irregular shape, or a 'fried egg' (meaning it's a different colour in the middle), or grown very dark or suddenly expanded out of proportion to the rest of your body.

UVA also causes your skin to wrinkle and age. Believe me, if you take care now, you'll be grateful in ten years when you're looking younger than your orange and leathery peers! Don't shrug off the fact that you've burnt because it will turn brown - it's still really harmful. Tans are becoming less and less popular; many A-list celebrities have spoken out about raising skin damage awareness, and are now embracing a pale complexion.

So, I've mentioned lots of risks, but not actually how to prevent them. There are lots of ways:
  • An obvious one: just because the sun is there, doesn't mean you have to sit in it! 
  • However, if you do, make sure you're protected with a sun screen of at least spf 30, even if you 'DON'T BURN'. This means you can stay in the sun 30 times longer than you usually would without burning. It must also have a high UVA rating to protect from damage.
  • Seeking shade will mean that you not only reduce your risk of burning and damage, but you will stay cooler and avoid dehydration and sun stroke.
  • Find a hat you like! Hats don't have to be frumpy; find a trendy, stylish one of whichever style suits you - floppy, straw, fedora, whatever you will feel comfortable wearing. This is definitely something I struggle with!
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Own lightweight cardigans or kimonos that you can cover up with during the hottest parts of the day. It could even get chilly - weather can be unpredictable, especially in England!
  • Buy sunglasses that have UV protection to protect your eyes and the skin around them. This will also mean that your skin won't age and wrinkle as soon.
    Remember to embrace and love the skin you're in!

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