We’ve all done it. Slathered ourselves in sunblock before hitting the beach, had a fantastic day and returned home to discover we missed a spot and are sunburnt.
The reality is: skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in South Africa. According to CANSA, South Africa has the second highest incidence of skin cancer in the world after Australia. In addition, at least 80% of skin-induced damage happens before the age of 18.
Always apply sunblock when you go into the sun, and don’t miss the following parts of your body:
Yes, you can actually burn your eyes. It’s called photokeratitis and affects the cornea and whites of your eye. Symptoms include pain, light sensitivity, blurry vision and teary eyes. You’ll need to see an ophthalmologist, who may prescribe antibiotics to prevent an infection. Going forward, make sure you wear a pair of 100 percent, UV-blocking sunglasses.
Unless you’re bald, it’s quite tricky to apply sunblock to your scalp. Always wear a hat with a wide brim when you’re in the sun to prevent sunburn.
3. Soles of your feet
Possibly the only way to burn this delicate part of your body is if you fall asleep in the sun, which is never a good idea. Always apply sunblock to your hands and feet. Even if you think your sandals will offer protection (they probably won’t), double up with sunblock.
4. Back of your legs
It happens. You can’t reach the back of your legs and don’t think you’ll suntan for too long. But, before you know it, the back of your legs are roasted. Ask someone to help you, or better still, don’t suntan – otherwise you’ll struggle at work if your job involves a lot of sitting.
Never ever forget to pop sunblock on your ears – front and back. A cap offers your ears very little protection, so rather opt for a full brim hat and plenty of sunblock.
The chances of getting your genitals sunburnt are slight, unless you’re in the habit of sunbathing in the nude. In that case, make sure you don’t forget to slap on some sunblock to protect your most delicate bits from the sun.
When should you see a doctor?
If your skin is severely blistered, you have a fever or chills, feel confused and ill, go to the doctor immediately. Resist the temptation to scratch or pop blisters – you’ll make yourself susceptible to infections.