Dear Val,As a skin cancer sufferer, I can wholeheartedly sympathise with Malc. I've now had seven cancerous lesions removed, one of which was a deadly melanoma.
But actually, it is when we are young that our skin is most fragile. Every dermatologist I have met, both in UK and in France, has told me that it is sunburn and unprotected sun exposure in early childhood and young adulthood which affects the melanocytes and DNA. This lays down future potential for developing skin cancer later on in life, especially in white skinned people, those with lots of moles and red hair. At best, we get wrinkles and keratosis, liver spots and various other skin ailments; at worst, we develop melanoma. There's no such thing as a safe tan unfortunately!
But it's still vitally important to cover up in sunlight. Especially in the areas where the UV is between 6 and maybe even 9 in the spring and summer. For instance today's peak UV in the Tarn et Garonne is 7. I use L'Oréal Sublime Sun SPF 50 in France. You can get it from Carrefour. But Bioderma and La Roche Posay are also good for photostability. I wear a hat and avoid the sun between 10am and 5pm in France. I seek shade. The lifestyle change isn't easy, especially if you like gardening or walking, but you adapt. You have to.
So my message to everyone is make sure the children and grandchildren are well protected against the sun and don't ever let them burn. Easy to happen in the pool! Also check skin regularly so any nasties are caught early.
A good source of reference is www.skincancer.org. (UK) Another is www.dermatonet.com (French)
Hope this helps,
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