The holidays season has arrived are around the corner and the Cancer Association of South Africa (Cansa) reminds the public to take care and be sun-smart.
Sunburn can occur within only 15 fifteen minutes and the damage caused can be permanent, with the effects adding up with each exposure to the sun.
Head of Cansa marketing and communication head Lucy Balona said SA South Africa had one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, in part due to the high levels of ultraviolet (UV) radiation, which is a major cause of skin cancer.
“UV radiation is just as dangerous for outdoor labourers, sports people, on the playground or when driving to work, as it is when at the beach or pool.
“Rays can also reflect off surfaces and cause sunburn when it is overcast,” Balona said.
“Although people with blonde or red hair, light skin, freckles and green or blue eyes are more at risk for sunburn and skin damage, everyone should take measures to protect themselves from UV rays,” she continued.
Balona indicated people living with albinism needed to take extra-special care when outdoors, as they were at greater risk of developing skin cancer.
“People with albinism need to wear protective clothing and sunglasses (rated at UV 400) to protect their sensitive eyes. It’s also important that they seek employment in a shaded environments and go for regular examinations to monitor for skin cancer. Sunscreen is available for people living with albinism through prescription from the department of dermatology at public hospitals.
“People who think that indoor tanning or sunbeds are a safer option are mistaken. There is no such thing as a healthy tan, which in fact indicates skin damage. First use of sunbeds before the age 35 increases the risk of developing melanoma by 59%,” she said.