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Beware of sun exposure during summer

Dubai: Doctors are warning UAE residents that intense heat during the summer can trigger early stages of skin cancer.

Dr Ikramullah Al Nasir, specialist dermatologist at the Dermacare Skin Centre told Gulf News that residents with a family history of melanoma need to be cautious. “it is difficult to attribute skin cancer to one single cause, but those with skin photo type I and II (that causes burning and no tan) and those who have undergone excessive sun exposure and multiple sun burns are in the high-risk category.”

Due to temperatures rising up to 45 degree Celsius during summer, residents are advised to stay hydrated and sun-protected at all times.

According to WHO, Caucasians (people with pale or freckled skin), belong to the highest risk group of skin cancer due to the lack of skin pigmentation and genetic predisposition.

Dr Al Nasir has tackled skin cancer and created awareness about the importance of early detection and screening to high-risk groups. He and his staff have detected perhaps the largest number of skin cancer cases in the region for the past 15 years.

Individuals who have multiple moles should see a dermatologist who is an expert in mole checks and mole scans, which allows them to get a yearly mole mappings done in order to record and monitor the changes occurring in their moles.

Dr Suresh Babu Rengasamy, specialist dermatologist at Medeor Hospital, said, “I mostly get skin patients for mole evaluation and they’re the ones with light skin. As well, I recommend them to apply sunscreen, not the one bought from the supermarket, a branded one, and apply it every four hours.”

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Moraine Harfouche, 57, an expatriate housewife who is careful with her skincare regimen said: I always take advice from my dermatologist and tan from 8am to 11am. I always apply sunscreen whenever I step out. I want to keep hydrated and well covered to avoid sun exposure.”

Hala Awaida, 21, a university student who avoids putting sunscreen said, “I have a light and sensitive skin and yet I avoid putting sunscreen as I do not like it. I know this is not right as I get sunburns but I dislike sunscreen.”

Dr Al Nasir also reached out to children in school, urging parents, school nurses, and physical education teachers to ensure that children had enough sun protection during their outdoor activities.

Dos and Don’ts to avoid sun exposure

Wear full-sleeve, high-collared, full-body dresses with long brimmed hat.

Apply sunscreen of SPF 30 on exposed areas at least 30 minutes before leaving home.

Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV radiation.

Have moles checked as part of any physical exam, and see the doctor if a mole or spot on your skin has changed.

Apply sunscreen on babies over the age of six months.

Avoid excessive sun exposures, particularly during peak hours of the day (10am-4pm in summer).

Avoid staying under the sun for a very long time alongside the pool or beach.

Avoid tanning salons. Tanning salons likely contributed to recent increases in cases of melanoma, since tanning beds expose the skin to as much as 15 times the UV radiation of the sun.

Source: Dr Al Nasir & Cancer Schmancer Movement

— The writer is an intern at Gulf News