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Fair skin vs sunshine – it doesn’t have to be a battle

Freckled and pale. White in winter, pink the summer. If this sounds familiar, then you probably have fair skin, a common sight here in Ireland. Here’s how this type of skin is unique and how to protect it. 

1. Skin in Ireland really is one of the fairest in the world. On average, Irish people have much lower levels of melanin in their skin, which is the pigment that defines what colour a person’s skin is. 

2. We’re more embarrassed… Or at least it looks that way. Pale skin is more likely to show blushing than darker skins as redness shows up more easily. Blushing can be caused by being embarrassed, going from cold to hot temperatures suddenly, UV light from the sun, and even drinking alcohol, as it causes blood vessels to expand and contract. 

3. Having lighter skin means increased risk of skin cancer such as melanoma. This is because those with more skin pigmentation have increased natural protection from the sun. There are over 10,000 new skin cancer cases in Ireland every year.    

With that last fact in mind, it makes sense to protect your skin. Coming into the summer months, here are 3 ways you can help keep your skin safe.   

1. Wear sun protection even on non-sunny days. We all know about using suncream when in sunnier climates, but it’s important to protect your skin at home too. While an Irish summer means plenty of cloudy days, your skin is still being exposed to UV rays. From the 1st of March till the 30th of September, UV levels are at their highest, so get the cream on all through this period for maximum protection.  

2. Cover up. If it’s warm and sunny you don’t have to break out the shorts and tee shirts. If you are pale skinned, try to wear light long sleeved tops and trousers instead. Also a good sun hat can help protect your crown, ears, face and neck.  

3. Be cautious using sunbeds. Lots of people think your skin is safer if you get a “base tan” before heading to the beach. This is entirely false. In fact sunbeds use concentrated UV rays, which are a leading cause of skin cancer. Either follow the guidelines and approach with extreme caution or avoid sunbeds altogether. 

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