According to the National Cancer Institute, the rate of new melanoma cases has tripled since the 1970s (NCI 2017). Just as alarming, death rate from melanoma has escalated sharply.
The exact cause of melanoma is still not known, & the reason for this sharp increase in incidence & death rate remains elusive. Scientists have however identified a number of risk factors that increase your chance of developing the deadly skin cancer, including use of indoor tanning beds, family history, the num ber of moles you have, fair skin, freckles, UV radiation exposure, and severe sunburns (CDC 2014). The frightening fact about this is we are only able to control three out of seven of these risk factors.
Indoor Tanning Beds
Solariums (also known as sunbeds) emit ultraviolet radiation and are still highly used in the Netherlands. Sun beds are a dangerous way to tan as they significantly increase your risk of cancer. The levels of UV radiation emitted from sunbeds can be up to six times as strong as the hottest midday summer sun. Research shows us that people who use a sunbed before the age of 35 have a 59% greater risk of melanoma than those who do not use sunbed. (sunsmart.com.au)
Due to the extreme danger they pose, in 2015 the Australian government made the move to ban all commercial use of indoor tanning beds, making them illegal in all states. Whilst this move was made in Australia, use of these dangerous sunbeds is still prolific here in the Netherlands. We get it, it’s bad enough living under the cold grey sky for up to 8 months of the year, but then to have that pasty, pale winter skin! A safer way to tan is to use a non-toxic fake tan lotion or cream. Eco Tan and Three Warriors are our favourite non-toxic tanning brand. Using only natural, organic ingredients, these beautiful tanning products won’t leave you with that horrible chemical fake-tan smell or looking like an orange! Eco Tan gives us the ultimate summer skin from a sun-kissed glow to a deep-bronze tan without any risk of developing skin damage.
On average, a person’s risk for melanoma doubles if they have had more than five sunburns. (skincancer.org) We can reduce our chance of severe sunburn by using an SPF 15+ or higher sunscreen. SPF stands for sun protection factor. The number associated with the SPF represents how long you will be protected in the sun from burning, than you would be without sunscreen. So if it takes you 10 minutes to develop burn in the sun without any sunscreen then with:
+ SPF15+ it would take 150 minutes
+ SPF30+ it would take 300 minutes
+ SPF 50+ it would take 500 minutes
Our favourite non-toxic natural sunscreen is the Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF30. Created in Australia, it has an SPF of 30, is water resistant up to 3 hours and has a low skin-irritation factor. It absorbs easily without leaving you with that chalky-white look, and it contains natural botanical extracts to provide moisturising care for your skin.
UV radiation Exposure
It is important to note that the SPF only takes into account your protection from UVB sun rays & NOT from UVA rays. So what’s the difference? UVB rays are the most commonly associated rays with skin burn from the sun as they penetrate the more superficial layers of the skin. UVA sun rays are able to penetrate & damage deeper levels of the skin which allow them to contribute to premature skin ageing. We always recommend using measures to protect yourself from both UVA & UVB radiation exposure. Our top tips to having fun in the sun whilst reducing your UV radiation exposure are:
+ Always wear a non-toxic sunscreen. No matter whether the skies are blue or grey, cloudy or sunny.
+ Wear clothes. Shirts, hats, pants and shorts can help to shield your skin from the sun’s UV rays.
+ Plan Around The Sun. The sun’s UV rays are typically highest in the middle of the day. By planning your outdoor activities in the morning or afternoon you can reduce your exposure to excessive amounts of UV.
+ Find Shade - or Make it! No trees on your stretch of beach or parkland? No problem! Canopies, umbrellas & tents make for excellent substitutes.
+ Sunglasses are essential. Not only the ultimate fashion accessory, sunglasses offer excellent UV protection.
Explore the diverse Natural Sunscreen collection at Nourished.