The dangers of our winter sun

 

Alas, the winter months are here. While most of us are celebrating the relative coolness and the exodus of the dripping humidity, it seems some are forgetting that the sun still packs a punch and impacts our skin.

Here on the Sunshine Coast, COVID-19 has deterred our outdoor activity more than winter ever could. However, with restrictions starting to lift and the cooler weather upon us, we are more likely to be in the sun for longer as we make the most of our beaches, our waterways, BBQs, picnics, backyard cricket or simply lazing about soaking up the sun. It is surprising however, to hear that of the 52% of adult Queenslanders who apply three of the five sun smart behaviours in summer, only 26% continue the ritual in winter*.

Whilst it is true the intensity of the winter sun diminishes, the skin damaging UV rays are still rampant.

You may not be aware that there are actually three types of UV rays; UVA, UVB and UVC. While UVC rays are the strongest and most lethal, our ozone layer protects us from them, so as long as it continues to do its job we don’t need to worry. The UVA and UVB rays, however, are the ones we need to be cautious of.

UVB rays are shorter rays and more impactive when the earth is tilted towards the sun (i.e. the summer months). These rays, sometimes referred to as UV Burning, are more sever in summer months as we are closer to the sun and it’s these that are responsible for causing most skin cancers.

UVA rays, non-affectionately referred to as UV Ageing rays, are lengthier meaning regardless of the tilt of the earth towards the sun (proximity), they have an impact on any area sunlight reaches. In fact, UVA rays are the same strength in June as they are December and the same in the Sahara as they are Melbourne. Because these rays are long, they also have the capability of penetrating deep within the skin and are responsible for long term skin damage, premature ageing, wrinkles and sun spots.

Your skin is so important and yet so fragile, therefore, it is crucial you look after it all year round. Here at Just Skin, we cannot stress enough the importance of maintaining sun smart behaviour throughout every season.  Whilst we are in the business of remedying non-melanoma skin cancers, prevention is the best cure of all.

 

*2012 statics supplied by Health Minister at the time, Janette Young

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