Skin Cancer & Looking After Your Skin in Midlife

When the sun comes out, how many of us are guilty of heading straight out to bask in the sun without a second thought for sunscreen? Many of us love it when our skin has that sun-kissed look and it can be tempting to give it a miss in the name of a good tan. We were sobered to see @rwoodsocean share the story of her brush with skin cancer after leaving the sunscreen off one too many times.

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This is just a little reminder for all of you sun lovers out there to be careful!!!!! I’ve always loved the sun and the feeling of the warmth on my body!! I admit I haven’t tanned safely and only applied sun cream as and when I could be bothered! In my silly head I just wanted a sun tan and didn’t want to wait for it, the thought of SPF slowed down my tanning process!!! About 3 years ago I badly burnt my nose whilst sailing in Croatia and then noticed this small area that occasionally scabbed and then cleared up, but never truly went away!! However I ignored it, thinking I was invincible and things like Cancer wouldn’t happen to me!!! However last year when I finally ventured to my GP and then plastic surgeon I was diagnosed as having a Basal Cell Carcinoma on my nose!!!! It didn’t actually really phase me that much, but has taught me a huge lesson...... So yesterday I was seen by my amazing plastic surgeon who removed the BCC which was a little smaller than a 5 pence piece and he placed a skin graft from my forehead onto my nose!! Pretty epic stuff!! Fingers crossed it will all take and I’ll recover real soon!! From now on I will be using the most organic suncream I can find, be wiser in the sun and protect my body from any further harm!! So my message is to anyone that does not use suncream, please think twice. We only have one life and one body, look after it!! #skincancer #basalcellcarcinoma #cancer #sun #sundamage #skin #plasticsurgery #onelife #suncream #organic

A post shared by Rachel Woods (@rwoodsocean) on

Your Skin in Midlife

Our chances of getting cancer increase as we age and our skin becomes more delicate so as we hit midlife we must be mindful of how we care for our skin in the sun. For those of us in midlife at the moment, you may remember the “hey day” of tanning, back in the ’70s and ’80s when we headed to the beaches loaded with baby oil and sun reflectors and fried out skin! Back then, we weren’t really aware of the risks and we just wanted that gorgeous tan! But it’s not too late to take care of your skin now that we know better.

Whose Is Most at Risk of Skin Cancer

The sad fact is that none of us are not at risk of skin cancer, but there are some people who need to take extra care when it comes to sun exposure:

Those with

  • a light complexion
  • history of sunburn and scarring
  • a history of excessive sun exposure before the age of 18
  • existing skin diseases such as albinism that increases the sensitivity of the skin
  • a personal or family history of skin cancer

How To Look Out For Skin Cancer

The most important thing is to routinely check your skin, just like we check our breasts. Any new and existing moles or skin lesions should be watched to see if they grow, change shape or colour or ooze liquid or blood. If anything looks irregular in shape or colour, get it checked.

One of the best ways to keep an eye on any moles or lesions is to keep a record. Take pictures on your mobile so that you can date them and check for any changes. You could also measure them to keep a record of their size which will help identify growth.

Be aware of your risk factors, trust your instincts and take action – get anything you are worried about checked so you can catch it early.

Look After Your Skin in Midlife

The best way to prevent skin cancer is to avoid sun exposure. Ultraviolet light speeds the formation of lines, wrinkles, and sun spot while damaging the skin’s ability to repair itself. Once you’re over 40, wear at least SPF 15 every day and SPF 30 to 50 during the summer on any skin that clothes don’t cover.  You can also buy primers that include sun protection so you can make it part of your make-up routine. Plus, an added bonus of using sunscreen daily can help slow the ageing of your skin!  It not only helps fade age spots and prevent new spots forming but also reduce your risk of getting cancer.


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