Sun Holidays Blamed for Surge in Skin Cancer
Updated: Feb 15
For many of us, the word “summer” conjures up images of beautiful bronzed bodies, sun, sea and sand...and in our part of the world who can blame us? But while some sun exposure is vital to stay healthy, overexposure can cause a multitude of problems of which sunburn and skin damage are the two most dangerous. To understand the gravity of the situation, let us step back to 2014 when an online article in independent.ie entitled “Celtic Tiger Holidays In Sun Blamed For Surge In Skin Cancer” cited the following statistics:
The number of Irish skin cancer cases almost doubled between 1994 and 2011 – but the biggest increases were among young people from 2002, when Irish consumer spending, and sun holiday bookings, reached record peaks.
The figures show that between 1994 and 2002, the number of confirmed cases rose by about 1pc per year.
But from 2002 onwards the number of cases began to skyrocket, with a year-on-year increase of between 6pc and 10pc from 2002 to 2011.
It revealed that, between 1994 and 2011, the number of skin cancer cases treated in Ireland soared from 5,146 to 9,190.
Data from 2011 onwards is still being compiled but both the NCRI and the Irish Cancer Society (ICS) said the number of skin cancer cases was expected to double again by 2040.
Source: data compiled by the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI)
Despite these alarming statistics the ICS also stressed that 90pc of cases are curable, if they are caught in time. Unfortunately, there is a tendency to take our skin for granted (let’s not forget it is our largest organ, and in our view, our greatest asset) in favour of worrying about other areas of the body such as heart or lung health. Undoubtedly though people need to be more aware of the health of their skin and they still need to be constantly reminded and educated about being sun-safe. And so, let us explain in brief how the skin is affected by environmental factors:
What Factors Can Damage My Skin?
The main environmental factors that contribute to skin damage are sunlight, infrared radiation, air pollution, alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoke. These aggressors generate free radicals, which cause a lot of damage and although our skin contains a natural reservoir of protective antioxidants to help it repair itself, this supply is quickly depleted if our skin is under constant attack. Without antioxidant protection, the skin can succumb to cellular damage that affects both its appearance and long-term health.
Equally, in the case of sunlight, the three main types of rays that damage our skin are UVA, UVB and infrared rays, all of which have the ability to penetrate skin and cause damage to cells and DNA. On the surface, this manifests itself as fine lines, wrinkles, laxity, discoloration, and potentially skin cancer - see picture for an example of cancerous skin.
The Skinceuticals Skin Rescue Plan:
Voted “Most Innovative and Most Effective Skincare” brand by the jury at the Image Beauty Awards 2015, Skinceuticals has long since been renowned for its almost fanatical devotion to research. This research has resulted in a range of potent skincare products that are formulated with powerful ingredients and advanced technologies to restore a healthier, younger-looking complexion.
The Skinceuticals methodology is to Prevent, Protect and Correct. In the case of sun damage the idea is to:
"Prevent" accelerated skin ageing and skin cancer by using a daily topical antioxidant. This prevents skin damage by neutralizing the free radicals generated by UV rays, infrared radiation, and other environmental factors like pollution, alcohol consumption, and cigarette smoke.
Protect against Photodamage is the second vital action of the 3-Step process. Photodamage, created by the sun is the number-one cause of accelerated skin ageing and skin cancer. To adequately shield skin from the sun, sunscreen needs to be a part of every daily routine.
Sunscreen options include physical UV-reflecting ingredients, chemical UV-absorbing ingredients, or a combination of both, but the most important thing to look for on a label is the term "broad spectrum". This indicates full coverage from the entire spectrum of UVA and UVB radiation, whereas SPF only measures the length of time one is protected from the UVB rays responsible for sunburn.
Remember outer signs of skin damage such as a tan or hyperpigmentation spots are your skin’s warning signs to you – the most dangerous consequence of sun damage lies beneath the surface and is invisible!
An Otto Clinic skincare professional can create an effective skincare regimen that is tailored to every unique skin type and condition. Our team are extensively trained in the science behind SkinCeuticals and, in consultation with you, can prescribe additional in-clinic treatments that make it possible to achieve your skincare goals.