Sunburn, skin cancer … We don’t protect ourselves enough from the sun in the city

It sent good summer. It’s beautiful, very beautiful. It’s hot, very hot. Even too much. And it will last all week. As of this Wednesday, an early heat wave from the Maghreb will hit all of France, where the thermometer will panic and exceed 40 ° C location.

While the most vulnerable are obviously to stay cool and hydrated, the sun-hungry ones may not be able to resist the call of the sun-exposed terraces, while those who work outdoors will have to reconcile work and heat and sun management. A sun that, without protection, wants nothing more than good for our skin. On the occasion of the Week for the Prevention and Awareness of Targeted Skin Cancer Screening, June 12-17, 20 minutes remind yourself of the good reflexes to adopt in the city to enjoy the virtues of the sun without suffering its harms.

Identical harms on the beach and in the city

On vacation, we are pretty much good students. Beach, mountains, countryside … During the summer, there are many who adopt good reflexes. On a daily basis, however, when the sun heats the bitumen and suffocates us, good habits are often forgotten. Whether it’s going to work, having a drink or just walking around, no one or almost no one protects themselves. “Most people only need it on vacation.” In the city, it’s not a concern, ”observes Dr. Isabelle Rousseaux, a dermatologist.

However, “the sun does not make a selection: it beats everywhere,” says Dr. Marc Perrussel, a dermatologist at the CHU de Pontchaillou in Rennes and vice-president of the National Union of Dermatologists-Venerologists (SNDV). And when you do a job outdoors or spend more time outside, in the parks or on the terrace, at the most dangerous hours, the UV will have its detrimental effects as everywhere else ”. However, “exposure to UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancers,” recalls the SNDV. UV care has a “variable presence: UVA, which is responsible for skin aging, radiates all year round, when UVB is mostly present in the summer period, when there is more exposure,” explains Dr. Perrussel. UVBs that go through pollution and will eventually give sunburns and consume sun capital ”.

People who are more at risk than others

O doză homeopatică (15 minutes a day on the forearms), the sun has benefits for the body. It allows you to synthesize vitamin D – essential for bone health and immunity. And it must be admitted, the sun, we also love it for this golden tan that it gives to the skin. But at high doses, he is no longer a friend. And in the long run, “poorly controlled exposure can have adverse consequences, even cancer,” warns Dr. Perrussel. Especially in some people: “We are not all equal in the sun, and some people are more at risk of developing skin cancer,” recalls the SNDV.

Potentially at risk for melanoma are “people who have fair skin, eyes, and hair, who are easily exposed to the sun, and who have a lot of pimples,” said Dr. Perrussel. Australia, where radiation is particularly harmful due to a hole in the ozone layer, and where the historic white population is of British descent, has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. on the planet. However, “less frequently, of course, dark skin may be at risk for melanoma,” said the dermatologist. In addition, “being immunocompromised, having a family or personal history of melanoma” are risk factors, according to the SNDV.

Other people are fragile. “Everyone who works outdoors, in construction, outdoor sports or in the countryside,” added Dr. Perrussel. Moreover, „Bald people, complete Dr. Rousseaux. The scalp is very fragile, it is a very important area of ​​cancer. ” Thus, “one of the most common pathologies in bald people is actinic keratosis,” explains Dr. Perrussel. These are precancerous lesions that, in 10% of cases, can develop into very virulent carcinoma, since it is a cancer that can metastasize. And that is more common than melanoma, with a frequency of about 20 people per 100,000 inhabitants, compared to 2 to 4 per 100,000 ”.

Regular rigorous protection and surveillance

To protect themselves, “we adopt the same reflexes in the city as at the beach,” insist the two dermatologists: we avoid the sun between 12 and 4 pm, or we wear light but covering clothes, we wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect the top of the skull as well as the nape and ears ”. And “avoid sunburn tattoos, drawn by the sun,” insists Dr. Perrussel. “And we apply an index 50 sunscreen as soon as there is a strong sun, every morning, even to go shopping,” prescribes Dr. Rousseaux. “Enough is enough,” said Dr. Perrussel. For the neckline, for example, the right amount is the hollow of the palm of the hand, no less, to be renewed every two hours. And it does not dispense with avoiding the sun during the hottest hours ”.

Without these precautions, “there is a risk of suffering from the effects of UV on a sunburn quickly,” warns Dr. Perrissel. But it is also pernicious and has bad effects. In the long run, there is a risk of accelerated skin aging and the appearance of cancer, whether in urban, rural or coastal areas ”. To counteract the UVA “responsible for the aging of the skin and through the windows, sunscreens may be placed on buildings as well as on road vehicles, for example.”

And to stay on top of these – new – good reflexes, “one inspects one’s pimples regularly, making sure there are no rough, red, puffy, irregular, multi-colored, or large-diameter, changing lesions.” advises Dr. Perrissel. If necessary, consult your doctor who, if necessary, will refer you to a dermatologist for a quick care ”. Every year, about 100,000 skin cancers are detected in France, according to SNDV. And according to the INCa, the number of skin cancers has more than tripled in thirty years.

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