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Facts about sunburn and skin cancer

Facts about sunburn and skin cancer

Is there a link between sunburn and skin cancer?

Yes, sun damage is the leading cause behind various types of skin cancer, including melanoma.

You can still get skin cancer without sunburn, but most cases are caused by sun exposure. So, for the majority of cases, skin cancer is preventable when the right precautions are taken.

How to avoid sunburn

No one enjoys sunburn - it hurts, can take days to recover from, based on its severity, can cause the skin to peel, can make us feel dehydrated and uncomfortable, and have more unpleasant side effects.

But the most unpleasant potential side effect of all is the increased likeliness of developing a type of skin cancer. The more our skin is exposed to damaging UV rays, the more likely we are to get a form of skin cancer.

So, prevention is the best method:

  • Wear protective clothing

  • Avoid direct sunlight, especially between the hours of 10am and 3pm.

  • Check the UV index as UV can be high even when it’s cloudy outside

  • Regularly apply sunscreen. Every four hours is best, or more if you are in water or sweating.

Read our article Skin Cancer Prevention for a more comprehensive list on how to avoid sun damage.

What to do if you get sunburnt

The moment you start to realise you are burning, remove yourself from the sun and hydrate. Applying sunscreen and then staying in the sun may not help as sunscreen takes 30 minutes to sink in and become effective.

Follow these steps:

  • Apply a calming lotion such as aloe vera to help take the sting out of burned skin

  • Have a cool shower

  • Hydrate. Water is great, but you may need something with electrolytes such as Hydralyte.

  • Seek medical attention if the burn is severe

  • Try to avoid further sunburn in future

  • Get yearly skin checks by a medical professional, even if you haven’t experienced noticeable sun damage.

  • See your doctor if you notice any changes to your moles or the appearance of new ones.

Melbourne Skin Cancer Clinic

Melbourne Skin Cancer Clinic
It's best to get your skin checked annually for the presence of skin cancer. Early detection is key for successful treatment rates.

We are a Skin Cancer Clinic in the Melbourne suburb of Werribee. We always welcome new patients and often see patients from all over Melbourne and beyond due to our extended opening hours.

Our doctors have a particular interest in skin cancer and perform mole checks. We also offer Total Body Mole Mapping which is a comprehensive way of checking skin for the presence of cancer. Learn more about Total Body Mole Mapping.

Skin cancer is more treatable when found early, so we believe in early detection.

If you would like to see us for your mole check, please contact us on 9741 1200 or book an appointment online.


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