Beware of the summer sun!

Summer is here but with the joys of sunny, relaxing days at the beach and striving for the perfect tan comes an elevated risk of doing permanent damage to your skin. In fact, unprotected, long exposure to the sun can promote the formation of skin cancer.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the incidence of skin cancer is on the rise. One in every three cancers diagnosed is a skin cancer. The depletion of the protective atmospheric ozone layer and the subsequent increase of harmful UV radiation have been identified as the main factors promoting skin cancer. The WHO stresses that the population should limit recreational sun exposure.

In order to enjoy the summer and stay healthy, monitoring and reducing sun exposure, applying sunscreen and covering up are strongly recommended.

Guidelines to protecting your skin from the sun:

1. Those with a lighter skin tone should reduce the time spent in direct sunlight, particularly between 11am and 3pm. For a healthy suntan, 20 minutes of sunlight exposure per day should suffice. Getting a tan should be done slowly by gradually increasing the time spent in the sun.

2. Sunscreen must be applied to all uncovered skin and must be re-applied after a dip in the sea or pool.

3. Covering up by wearing a hat, long-sleeved shirts and long skirts or trousers is an effective way to protect from the sun’s rays. Attention must be paid to avoid overheating as this can cause sun/heatstroke. Sunstroke is considered a medical emergency and should be treated at A&E. Characteristic symptoms are throbbing headaches, dizziness, exhaustion, fainting, confusion, nausea, and even seizures. Someone suffering from sunstroke is likely to have an accelerated heartbeat and may breathe heavily, and while the skin is dry and hot, he or she may show no sign of sweating. If these symptoms are noted, call 112.

A number of homeopathic remedies can help sooth the damage of sunburn:
■ Arsenicum album: This remedy is indicated when there is burning, and the sensation is relieved by heat and hot applications.
■ Belladonna: There is intense redness, throbbing and burning. The skin radiates from the heat and can be felt when touched.
■ Calendula: This remedy is for burns that are superficial. It promotes healing and cicatrisation.
■ Cantharis: There is blistering – raw, painful, burning and itching. Indicated for first degree burns.
■ Causticum: The skin is painful and burning. Blisters form. Cicatrices break repeatedly.
■ Hypericum: Indicated for painful blistering; small blisters. Itching.
■ Rhus tox.: Blistering, burning and itching.
■ Urtica urens: Violent itching, stinging and burning. Blisters form. First degree burns.

(In acute cases, the appropriate homeopathic remedy – potency 6x or 12x – dosage: 1 tablet or 7 drops/globules – should be given up to six times, in 15-minute intervals).

In order to prevent the adverse effects from sun exposure, the following should be emphasised:
■ When it’s hot, stay inside.
■ But if you must step outside, keep hydrated! In a hot climate, your body loses its hydration through sweating! Not drinking enough water in the heat causes the body’s cooling-system to break down.
■ Avoid physical exercise and other activities outdoors between 11am and 3pm.
■ Sit in the shade, keep hydrated, wear a hat and apply sunscreen.

Take care of yourself. The summer can be enjoyed without the unpleasant side effects!

By Uta Mittelstadt

Uta Mittelstadt, BSc & MSc Homeopathic Medicine – University of Central Lancashire, U.K.
Clever Homeopathy / Clever H.-the Mag!
Treatments in the Algarve:
in the course of 2018