Don’t Fry Day – how to stay safe in the sun

Don’t Fry Day – how to stay safe in the sun

24 May is Don’t Fry Day – a day to encourage sun safety awareness.

Tanning/ iStock

We might be making our way towards winter, but sun safety always remains a concern. The National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention has released a guide to help keep your skin safe from the harmful effects of the sun and prevent skin cancer. 

Ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun is the main cause of most skin cancers.

According to skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and South Africa has one of the highest monitored ultra violet (UV) levels in the world, resulting in one of the highest skin cancer rates globally.

It is important for people to prevent exposure to UV radiation by staying away from direct sunlight. 

Although many have been told that tanning is good, the organisation states that “tans are caused by harmful ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning lamps, and if you have one, you’ve sustained skin cell damage.”

The exposure to UV radiation can also lead to premature skin ageing (wrinkles, lax skin, brown spots, and more), as well as skin cancer, states the report. 

According to just exposing your skin to direct sunlight for a few minutes can cause permanent damage. 

“Sunburn can occur within fifteen minutes, and the damage caused is permanent, irreversible and adds up with each exposure to the sun” states 

Below are skin cancer prevention tips from the National Council on Skin Cancer Prevention.

- Avoid intentional tanning and tanning beds.

- Seek shade when sun’s rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

- Wear sun-protective clothing i.e. long-sleeved shirt and pants, wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

- Generously apply sunscreen. Use a broad-spectrum sunscreen with Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher for protection from ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.

- Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours.

- Use extra caution near water, snow, and sand because the surfaces reflect the damaging rays of the sun, which can increase your chance of sunburn.

- Get Vitamin D safely through a healthy diet and taking vitamin supplements.

READ: A solution to South Africa’s sanitary towel problem

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