Be safe in the sun

Posted May 26, 2017

As the weather starts to heat up for the summer season we are sharing tips on how to keep safe in the sun. Anti-cancer therapies like chemotherapy or biological therapies can make your skin more vulnerable to sun damage, so whether you are currently on treatment or have already finished it is important to protect your skin.
If you have recently had a stem cell transplant or are currently/have recently had radiotherapy then protecting your skin is very important as it can cause unwanted side effects, for example if you have had an allogenic stem cell transplant then skin graft-versus-host disease may worsen with exposure to the sun, so it is important to cover up
Your medical team will give you detailed advice on how to protect your skin, and it is important to ask them any questions you may have as they will be able to provide you with expert advice, these top sun safe tips can help to support that advice.

1. Avoid the sun at peak times during the day
The sun tends to be at its strongest between 11am and 3pm so it is best to avoid being out for long periods during this time. Websites such as the Met Office or your local weather forecast sites can provide detailed information about when the sun is likely to be at its strongest and what times of the day the temperatures will peak. It is always best to check this information and plan accordingly.

2. Keep your head covered
Keep your head covered to protect sensitive, particularly if you have lost your hair from treatment, a wide brimmed hat will help keep your head, face, ears and neck protected.

3. Keep your eyes in the shades!
Wearing sunglasses or ‘shades’ will help protect your eyes. Make sure your sunglasses have a guaranteed ultra violet filter to keep your eyes protected.

4. Keep your clothing loose
Long loose clothing made from natural fibres or cotton will help give additional protection from the sun and keep you cool.

5. Use plenty of suncream
Using sun cream is extremely important, ensure your suncream protects against UVB/UVA rays and is at least a sun protect factor 30 (SPF) or higher. Always follow the instructions and make sure you apply plenty of the cream, this may be in cream, gel or spray – the key is making sure you use plenty. Make sure you reapply the suncream regularly and particularly after swimming (see next tip) or sweating.

6. Get expert advice on swimming
A swim on a hot day can be refreshing but always make sure you seek expert advice before swimming. Some treatments can make your skin more sensitive to certain chemicals like chlorine or may affect your immune system, so you may need to avoid swimming. Always check with your medical team.

7. Water, water, water!
Make sure you keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water, avoid having too much caffeine and always seek medical advice before consuming alcohol as this could affect medication or treatment. Cool fresh water is advised.

8. Don’t stay out too long
Don’t stay out in the sun for too long, use cool shaded area to provide you with a break from direct sunlight.

Remember this is general advice and you should seek individual advice from your medical team on staying safe in the sun.