Did you know it is Sun Awareness Week from the 14th – 20th May in the UK?
It’s a chance for an important reminder on the dangers of too much exposure to the sun and how you can protect yourself from its harmful rays.
Facts about skin and sun-damage
- Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, but it is also the most preventable. Most skin cancer is caused by sunburn before the age of 18 or continued exposure to the sun without protection – more than 80% of adults don’t apply sun-cream in the UK!
- A suntan is really sun damage. By the time your skin changes colour, it is already damaged, and the colour change is the bodies response to the melanin being destroyed.
- Humans need the sun for vitamin D and to help us absorb calcium. Vitamin D helps us to build and maintain healthy teeth and bones and is a vital nutrient for our bodies. 30 minutes of early morning sun, before it’s rays are at full strength, can be very healthy. But be careful not to burn!
- When the skin bubbles, peels or blisters after a sunburn, it is actually a 2nd degree burn.
- There are 2 types of harmful rays from the sun – UVA and UVB. UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin and cause premature aging, whereas UVB will cause damage to the surface layers to the skin.
How to protect yourself from the Sun
- Cover up in clothes that are tightly woven. The more transparent the item, the less protection it offers.
- Wear sun-cream with SPF30+ and check for UVA and UVB protection. In the UK, this is a star rating, so look for the 5* rating on your bottle.
- Avoid the sun between 10am and 4pm as this is when it is at is most harmful.
- Wear a hat and use sunglasses that protect from UVA and UVB rays.
The sun can be very dangerous for our delicate skin, even though it many benefits are vital to sustain life on Earth. While the ozone layer around Earth helps to protect us from a lot of the dangers, it is important to stay protected when you’re out and about in the sunlight.
The benefits of the sun help to keep all life on Earth alive. Coupled with water and oxygen, sunlight is imperative. Heat generated from the suns rays help to stop our planet from freezing and makes it hospitable from us, the sunlight helps plants to turn carbon-dioxide into oxygen and, due to the Earth changing its tilt throughout the year, the amount of sunlight changes the seasons.
Some things you may not know about the Sun
- The sun is actually a star we have named “The Sun” – the philosopher Anaxagoras was the first to suggest that the sun is a star, around 450 BC. It is thought to be about 4.6 billion years old and estimated to be half way through its lifetime.
- It takes 8 minutes and 20 seconds for light from the sun to reach Earth due to how far away the sun is; just under 93million miles away – and it’s our closest star!
- The suns gravity is 28x stronger than gravity on Earth and it is the reason why everything in our galaxy revolves around the sun, including all the planets.
- The sun has no solid surface and is just gas, mostly hydrogen, but helium, carbon, nitrogen and oxygen are part of the mix.
- Photosynthesis is one of the most important things to happen on our planet. It is when plants use sunlight to change carbon dioxide to oxygen and synthesise nutrients from water. Without this process, there would not be life on Earth as we know it.