Prevention is better than cure

SUN-SMART: Wear a hat and apply sunscreen, and cover up or seek shade in the hottest part of the day.

AS WITH most health issues, prevention is better than cure. Wear a hat, cover up, especially in the hottest part of the day, and apply sunscreen.

Most sunscreens are chemical, which absorb UV radiation as they break down and so reduce the amount of radiation that reaches your skin.

Others have zinc or titanium oxides in them, which form a physical barrier and tend to last better.

It’s worth remembering that sunburn is a radiation burn, and when you are exposed to radiation you can get cancer.

Sun tans can make people appear healthier, but they come at a cost. It is a sign that changes are happening in your skin cells, and someone who spends a lot of time out in the sun tends to age considerably more over 10 years than someone who doesn’t, especially if they have lighter skin that doesn’t tan easily.

People worry about not getting vitamin D, which is produced with sun exposure, but in summer it doesn’t take much sun to get your vitamin D levels up.

With our skin cancer rates among the highest in the world, it’s really important to get your skin checked by a doctor trained to diagnose skin cancers. The earlier you catch them the easier they are to treat, often with prescription topical treatments rather than surgery.

The longer you leave skin cancers the more skin you lose, and if you leave melanomas they can be deadly. If anything looks unusual or has changed, get it checked as soon as possible.

Coming from the UK, I was surprised at how harsh the sun is here in Gisborne. A lot of my work as a cosmetic physician is helping people repair sun damage.

In summer we use prescription treatments like hydroquinone, retinoic acid, kojic acid and liquorice to reduce hyperpigmentation, or sunspots.

There is also a product from Osmosis called Catalyst, which is a high-potency vitamin C product that has been shown to reduce signs of DNA damage from UV.

In winter we even out uneven skin tone with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments.

Wrinkles can be Botoxed out, and we use filler for deeper unwanted lines, and restore collagen by microdermabrasion and skin needling with stem factors and Omnilux light treatments, which can be used year-round.

Prevention is much better than cure though, and we always give people the sun smart reminders, and emphasise good skin care, which should include a gentle cleanser, a good topical vitamin A and a hyaluronic moisturiser.

AS WITH most health issues, prevention is better than cure. Wear a hat, cover up, especially in the hottest part of the day, and apply sunscreen.

Most sunscreens are chemical, which absorb UV radiation as they break down and so reduce the amount of radiation that reaches your skin.

Others have zinc or titanium oxides in them, which form a physical barrier and tend to last better.

It’s worth remembering that sunburn is a radiation burn, and when you are exposed to radiation you can get cancer.

Sun tans can make people appear healthier, but they come at a cost. It is a sign that changes are happening in your skin cells, and someone who spends a lot of time out in the sun tends to age considerably more over 10 years than someone who doesn’t, especially if they have lighter skin that doesn’t tan easily.

People worry about not getting vitamin D, which is produced with sun exposure, but in summer it doesn’t take much sun to get your vitamin D levels up.

With our skin cancer rates among the highest in the world, it’s really important to get your skin checked by a doctor trained to diagnose skin cancers. The earlier you catch them the easier they are to treat, often with prescription topical treatments rather than surgery.

The longer you leave skin cancers the more skin you lose, and if you leave melanomas they can be deadly. If anything looks unusual or has changed, get it checked as soon as possible.

Coming from the UK, I was surprised at how harsh the sun is here in Gisborne. A lot of my work as a cosmetic physician is helping people repair sun damage.

In summer we use prescription treatments like hydroquinone, retinoic acid, kojic acid and liquorice to reduce hyperpigmentation, or sunspots.

There is also a product from Osmosis called Catalyst, which is a high-potency vitamin C product that has been shown to reduce signs of DNA damage from UV.

In winter we even out uneven skin tone with Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) treatments.

Wrinkles can be Botoxed out, and we use filler for deeper unwanted lines, and restore collagen by microdermabrasion and skin needling with stem factors and Omnilux light treatments, which can be used year-round.

Prevention is much better than cure though, and we always give people the sun smart reminders, and emphasise good skin care, which should include a gentle cleanser, a good topical vitamin A and a hyaluronic moisturiser.

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Marc, Utah, USA - 2 months ago
While articles such as this one are well-intentioned, it does not tell the story of the importance of the sun. Sun exposure saves lives, and frightening people away from the sun is misguided and dangerous. Melanoma is not caused by regular, habitual sun exposure. The Melanoma International Foundation's own research states that melanoma has increased by 3000% since 1935. What they don't mention is that sun exposure has decreased by about 90% during that time due to workers moving indoors. Nor do they mention that outdoor workers have half the risk of contracting melanoma as indoor workers. Here are a few more scientific facts regarding the health benefits of sun exposure:
* A 20-year Swedish study shows that sun avoidance is as bad for the health as cigarette smoking.
* A Spanish study shows that women who seek the sun have one-eleventh the hip fracture risk as those who avoid sun.
* Women who totally avoid the sun have 10-times the risk of breast cancer as those who embrace the sun.
* Women who sunbathe regularly have half the risk of death during a 20-year period compared to those who stay indoors.
* Sun exposure increases nitric oxide production, which leads to a decrease in heart-attack risk.
* Sun exposure dramatically improves mood through the production of serotonin and endorphin.
* Beyond vitamin D, sun exposure also stimulates the production of endorphin, nitric oxide and BDNF, all of which are vital to human health.
* Regular sun exposure also reduces high blood pressure, heart disease, psoriasis and multiple sclerosis (MS).
* A recent major research paper estimates that sun deprivation, due to misguided efforts to frighten people out of the sun, is causing about 330,000 deaths per year in the U.S.
In Australia and New Zealand, melanoma and sunscreen use both increase yearly. Is there something wrong with this scenario?
For the scientific references and articles for the above statements, visit http://sunlightinstitute.org/

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