By Tom Parker
With the news yesterday that cases of skin cancer have almost doubled over the last 5 years in the UK, the question we should be asking is who or what is to blame?
Many of us love a tan and enjoy nothing more than lying around on a beach somewhere, but do you think of the consequences that it may have on the health on your skin? We live in a society that values not only a sunny disposition but complexion too. Our media is flooded with images of everything from sun-kissed models to tan-obsessed reality stars. Tan seems to be the way to go. Spray tans are all very well and good, but if most people were honest they’d admit to wanting something with a little more longevity. This is the stage many of us contemplate using more risky tanning alternatives, such as sun beds and even tanning injections.
This is where things get dangerous, as the 41% rise in skin cancer cases proves. With extreme sunlight and sun bed exposure comes heightened chances of developing forms of skin cancer. The problem has been an issue for quite some time now. So much so, that the national age restriction on sun bed usage was raised a few years ago. Companies, politicians and even celebrities such as Girl’s Aloud’s Nicola Roberts weighed in to show they support to higher the age restriction.
So why are we still seeing an increase in cases of skin cancer, especially in younger people? And who is to blame? Is it the media for flooding us with unrealistic ideas to aspire to? Is it the Government for not making enough effort to not only create regulations in the tanning industry but enforce them too? Or maybe it’s our fault for not taking enough care of our skin when exposed to extreme sunlight or sun beds.
If we’re honest, it’s not just one thing that calculates to this sudden increase in skin cancer cases, it’s a cocktail of them all. It’s recommended that we all wear a SPF factor cream everyday but do you actually do it? Well done if you do – you’re often in the minority.
Most of us are guilty of not taking the best care of our skin when it comes to sun exposure. If these statistics do anything, hopefully they make us all make the small changes in our day to day lives that could help lower our chances of developing skin cancer.
More people going on holidays abroad is thought to be one of the main reasons for this rise in skin cancer cases too. So it’s clear to see a clear lack of knowledge or even disregard for health in pursuit of a golden complexion is a factor in this rise. If we are honest we all need to familiarise ourselves with the health precautions we can follow in order to protect ourselves and rejuvenate what we have.
I spoke yesterday to Dr Mitesh Parmar, a Vanquish body contouring and skin expert from London, who called these new skin cancer statistics ‘worryingly high’ and is actively encouraging anyone concerned to visit a skin specialist for a check-up.
“Skin health is something I take very seriously at Parmar Aesthetics and I’m deeply shocked to see the national figures revealing such a massive rise in skin cancer cases over the last 5 years,” said Dr Parmar from his private Harley Street clinic.
“Now summer is officially over, I hope these stats raises awareness of the dangers of sun exposure, and encourage anyone worried about their skin health – or that of a family member – to book a consultation and get checked out.”
According to the British Association of Dermatologists, skin cancers are the most common form of cancer in England and Dr Parmar agrees the increase in sufferers is likely due to cheaper holidays to hotter places.
“It’s about time everyone took sun care more seriously at home and abroad,” said the aesthetics expert, and I couldn’t agree with him more.