POST LOCKDOWN ALFRESCO SKINCARE SAFETY
by Gillian Robson SKIN CANCER SURVIVOR
We are post lockdown – the beer gardens are open & the sun is shining – so it is the perfect time to kick start your day with a daily moisturiser with SPF on your face & body to protect your skin. It is a great way to get to know your skin, protect it from future damage & look out for any changes.
If you have any concerns at all about anything that does not look quite right get it checked out by your GP.
Let’s continue to support our NHS
My story & why it’s so important to wear SPF
My first mole appeared on the back of my left leg at the base of my thigh. I first noticed a slight mark & days later it had got darker. Within ten days it became irregular & even darker. My instinct kicked in. I knew it did not look right so I took myself off to the GP who immediately fast tracked me. Within a few days I was in hospital, had it checked by a dermatologist & it was removed there & then!
I got my results within ten days and it was a day I will never forget. I walked in to see the consultant only to be faced with a MacMillan nurse and together they told me the devastating news. None of us want to hear the word ‘Cancer’, and sadly, as it was an aggressive form of malignant melanoma (skin cancer), I had to have surgery to remove more skin. Then came the terrible wait for the results to see if it had gone any deeper than 6mm below the surface – which would mean it had gone into my bones & blood stream. It was the most terrifying time.
We are SO LUCKY to have such an amazing NHS
It is so frightening to think that if this occurs, it spreads rapidly & in most cases can be fatal. Thankfully, mine was contained in that area & had not spread, what a relief that was! However, two months later when I started having back pain the rollercoaster started again. They rushed me in to have some bone scans & blood tests as they were worried some cancer cells had escaped them – the NHS are incredible – I was fast tracked to have all the tests, then wait two weeks for the results, which seemed like forever. My life was on hold, but I was determined to remain positive. The next two weeks were all a bit of a blur really until the call came to say I was all clear.
My new life had begun, and I was determined to make others understand why it is so important to wear sun protection. I felt guilty that I had used sunbeds and sunbathed with little sun cream on – something that so many of us did without realising how harmful UV rays really are. But I was paying the price as I now live with skin cancer. I have had 15 lesions removed over the years; BCC’s, SCC’s all caught in time as I know what I’m looking for. Now I feel I can help you.
KNOW YOUR OWN SKIN
Knowing your own skin & any changes is so important. My number one tip would be to photograph all your skin areas. Take them in good lighting & get your partner to take photos of your back & back of the legs – these are the most common areas to get issues as they are the places we miss when applying sun protection.
If there are certain moles or skin issues that your instinct makes you feel uneasy about then pay more attention to them. Watch these closely every day & take photos (make sure they are taken in the same lighting as previous ones & the same angle). Measure the diameter over a few days and if they change in shape, become itchy or bleed then get them checked out. Call your GP, explaining exactly how its changed & that you have photos. Offer to email them so they can send them direct to the dermatology department for a closer inspection. If there are any concerns, they will tell you the next steps.
Early detection in any cancer is key & skin cancer can affect all skin types
Skin cancer is predicted to be the most common cancer by 2024, but 86% is preventable if we wear sun protection. Our skin is the largest organ in our body so we must look after it. If there was a cream that we could apply to prevent breast cancer, wouldn’t you wear it?
It is estimated to cost the NHS 180 million this year, so let’s start saving them money & look after our skin.
Here are a few guides so you know what to look for
This image shows the signs of ageing – most ageing is caused by the sun – so protect it by wearing sun protection.
Wearing sun protection every day, even through cloud, is so important – this shows your skin through a UV light – It just shows the protection given when wearing sun cream.
I have always loved the outdoors so when I was told I needed to wear SPF 50 everyday by my dermatologist I panicked. I’ve been in the beauty industry for many years and all the SPF50’s I came across were thick, white & gloopy. I also liked to have some warmth on my skin & all the gradual self-tans were all too dark & smelly. This was when I came up with the idea of TANCREAM – the perfect way of tanning safely. It has an SPF50 & 5 Star UVA sun protection. We can use it every day as a daily moisturiser for the face & body – perfect for all year-round skin care to make us feel confident, but most importantly, look healthy & stay healthy.
& MULTI AWARD WINNING