This year, Sun Awareness Week runs from the 2nd to the 8th of May. The British Association of Dermatologists leads this campaign to highlight the dangers of exposure to the sun, predominately the risk of skin cancer.
At Bianco Beauty in Milton Keynes, we work with our clients to make the most of their natural attributes, ensuring they’re happy in their beautiful skin. We take skin protection seriously, giving advice and information on how to take care of it before, during and after a cosmetic procedure.
Skin Protection in the UK
Though we all know that we need to pack the sun cream when heading abroad, many of us tend to forgo protecting ourselves when we’re on our home soil unless the sun is burning brightly.
According to NHS advice, we should always be taking care in the UK because we’re generally only exposed to intense sunshine when we’re abroad. Our skin isn’t used to prolonged periods of sun.
Here, the sun is at its strongest between March and October. Although we don’t tend to unleash our summer wardrobe in spring, it’s still beneficial to protect the exposed areas, such as the face. You don’t have to pull out the factor 30 on a lukewarm March morning, but regularly using an SPF moisturiser is recommended.
Skin Types at Higher Risk
Certain skin types are at higher risk of sun damage, and those with pale skin, freckles and red hair need to take extra care in the sun. People with quite a few moles, a family history of skin cancer, or taking medication that may cause sensitivity to light also need to take additional measures.
These precautions go beyond the application of sun cream, with the recommendation being that those at higher risk keep to the shade when the sun is at its peak. Wearing loose-fitting clothing and hats to keep the skin covered also helps.
Here at Bianco Beauty, we love the Bioderma Photoderm Face Protection SPF50, and it’s what we recommend to our clients during and after their treatment. At factor 50, the protection level is high, but that’s not the only reason it’s become our favoured brand. The Photoderm range offers UVA and UVB anti-redness protection and even protects those with sun allergies. The range caters to different skin types, areas, and children and babies.
The Signs of Skin Cancer
Cancer doesn’t discriminate, and that’s why you need to be vigilant, not just in terms of protecting your skin but being familiar with it too.
How much attention do you give your skin? Probably not enough. Unless something new stands out or irritates us, most of us tend to get washed and dressed as quickly as possible before we get on with our day.
We need to slow down and take note of our bodies, to know the freckles, moles, and areas of pigmentation on our skin to recognise when something changes. If you get a new mole or one that’s been present for a while changes, you need to see your doctor. It may be nothing, but it’s best to be safe than sorry.
Skin cancer presents itself in several ways. Some we expect. Others are less common. Melanoma is the most common type of skin cancer, and here are some of the signs:
- A brownish spot, often large and with darker speckles
- The change in colour, size, or texture of a mole
- A small cut with an edge that appears jagged and appears to be red, pink, white, blue or black
- A cut that continues to itch or burn
The Mayo Clinic has a complete list of the signs of common and rarer cancers, and you can familiarise yourself with it here.
According to Cancer Research UK, there are 16,744 new cases of melanoma skin cancer each year in the UK (an average taken from 2016 to 2018). Although between 2013 and 2017, the survival rate was 87%, in 2015, it was found that 86% of cases of melanoma skin cancer could have been prevented.
Treating Damaged Skin
Although skin cancer is the most significant risk and the main reason to ensure that your skin is protected from the sun, there are other ways the sun’s powerful UV rays can damage your skin.
Pigmentation spots on the skin can be caused by several things, including sunlight and UV rays. You should always speak to your doctor to get their opinion, but most of the time, pigmentation spots are not considered a threat.
That doesn’t mean they’re harmless. Areas of pigmentation can cause anxiety and affect your confidence, especially when on the face.
Skin conditions that impact how we feel about our appearance should never be trivialised since they lead to body dysmorphia and depression. These can negatively impact your whole life.
Many people use strong concealers to cover areas of pigmentation, but makeup wears off and once removed, you’re faced with skin that is making you unhappy.
At Bianco Beauty, our specialist laser practitioners perform Laser Pigmentation Treatment in Milton Keynes, offering a permanent solution to the removal of skin pigmentation. This is one of the many benefits of our Carbon Laser Peel, also known as the Hollywood Laser Peel. So effective, the treatment doesn’t just correct the discolouration; it repairs the damaged skin.
During the initial consultation, our practitioner will examine your skin and honestly inform you which areas will respond to the treatment and the results you can expect. They will then create a bespoke treatment plan unique to you.
Though you can treat skin pigmentation, this is a step to take once the damage has already been done.
Sun Protection Before, During and After Procedures
Protecting your skin from sun damage is always advised, but if you’ve had a cosmetic tattoo (semi-permanent makeup) or laser hair removal in Milton Keynes with Bianco Beauty, additional precautions will need to be taken.
Before any laser treatment is started, you’ll need a consultation and patch test, and one of the things you’ll be advised is to use sun protection and avoid tanning. Lasers are set based on your skin tone, and tanning will impact that. You may also find that skin is more sensitive in the areas that have been treated.
This also applies to semi-permanent makeup because the skin will need to heal where the pigment has been applied. In this case, creams may not be appropriate, and we would advise keeping the areas shaded using sunglasses and brimmed hats.
UV and Pigmentation
If you want to keep your semi-permanent makeup and standard tattoo looking fresh, you must keep them well protected. UVA rays can penetrate the deeper layers of the skin, causing the skin structure to change. This can impact the colour of the pigment.
One of the main reasons tattoos fade over time is that the skin’s natural cycle of shedding and regrowth adds new layers of skin over the tattoo. If you get sunburn on an area where a cosmetic tattoo or standard tattoo has been applied, a thicker layer of skin will peel away. Being remarkable, your skin will then grow a new layer right over the top of your semi-permanent makeup.
Use this Sun Awareness Week to educate yourself on the best ways to protect your and your family’s skin. Then make those changes part of your life in the long term.