When the sun is at an all-time high, such as during peak hours in the day and in heatwaves, the skin can take quite a battering. In an attempt to achieve that bronzed look, our skin could be exposed to harmful rays creating unforeseen damage. With skin cancer diagnoses at an all-time high, nurse Vanessa Charest from London Real Skin spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk to discuss all things related to skin and what the biggest symptoms are to spot warning of melanoma.
“Everyone should be mindful of the sun at all times,” said Mrs Charest.
“If any new lesions seem suspicious or seem an abnormal shape or colour please seek advice with no delay as this could be a malignant melanoma a form of skin cancer which can be life threatening if not detected in the early stage.”
When it comes to warning signs on the skin indicating something a blemish may be more serious, Mrs Charest advised: “Be vigilant with any changes in size, shape, colour or elevation of a spot on your skin, or any new symptom in it, such as bleeding, itching or crusting which may be a warning sign of melanoma.”
When it comes to reducing the risk of sun damage and what ingredients a person can use, Mrs Charest said: “You can use active ingredients to reverse the damage or help correct the damage caused.
“This includes products which contain vitamin C, Tretinoin and glycolic acid.”
Foods to help protect against sun damage
Mrs Charest said antioxidant and vitamin C rich foods are your best such as blueberries.
She explained: “These ingredients help fight off free radicals that can damage skin due to sun exposure and stress.
“Blueberries are even more powerful if they’re a wild variety. They’re also a very good source of vitamin C, which can help prevent wrinkles from a day on the beach.”
Other powerful foods to protect the skin against damage include watermelons, nuts and seeds, carrots, leafy greens and cauliflowers.
When asked what the most common types of sun damage to the skin are, Mrs Charest answered: “Dry skin – this is when sun-exposed skin can gradually lose moisture and essential oils, making it appear dry, flaky and prematurely wrinkled, even in younger people.
“Sunburn is the common name for the skin injury that appears immediately after the skin is exposed to UV radiation.
“Mild sunburn causes only painful reddening of the skin, but more severe cases can produce tiny fluid-filled bumps (vesicles) or larger blisters.
“Actinic keratosis is a tiny bump that feels like sandpaper or a small, scaly patch of sun-damaged skin that has a pink, red, yellow or brownish tint.
“Unlike sun tan markings or sunburns, an actinic keratosis does not usually go away unless it is frozen, chemically treated or removed by a doctor.
“An actinic keratosis develops in areas of skin that have undergone repeated or long-term exposure to the sun’s UV light, and it is a warning sign of increased risk of skin cancer.
“About 10 percent to 15 percent of actinic keratoses eventually change into squamous cell cancers of the skin.”
She continued: “In photoaging, the skin develops wrinkles and fine lines because of changes in the collagen of a deep layer of the skin called the dermis.
“In actinic purpura, UV radiation damages the structural collagen that supports the walls of the skin’s tiny blood vessels.
“Particularly in older people, this collagen damage makes blood vessels more fragile and more likely to rupture following a slight impact.”
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