Dr Syed Amjad Ali Shah
AHD alerts on risks of skin exposure to sun
Dubai, May 26, 2013
The American Hospital Dubai (AHD) is marking the annual skin cancer awareness month (May 2013) by advising the community on the health benefits and risks of exposing skin to the sun.
Recent research in the UK has suggested that the benefits of sun exposure – vitamin D production and a claimed lowering of blood pressure – may outweigh the risks of skin problems associated with exposure to sunlight, such as skin cancer, changes in pigmentation and premature ageing.
According to dermatologists at the American Hospital Dubai, a suntan may look healthy but is actually a sign that the skin is already harmed by UV radiation and is trying to defend itself against further damage.
This kind of damage can in turn increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Skin cancer kills more than 2,500 people in the UK every year and its most deadly form, malignant melanoma, is now the second most common cancer among young people in the UK.
While skin cancer can also occur on parts of the body not exposed to sunlight, extensive sun exposure is thought to be responsible for the vast majority of cases. UV irradiation, in particular UVB, causes sunburn, which has strong links to malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma risk (types of skin cancer).
“It is vital that skin cancers are detected and treated early as swift diagnosis can help save lives,” says Dr Syed Amjad Ali Shah, a UK trained and registered dermatologist, practising at the American Hospital Dubai.
“In more than four out of five cases, skin cancer is a preventable disease. The new UK research is interesting and we are well aware of the benefits of careful exposure to sunlight with the appropriate precautions, to increase our vitamin D levels. However, claims that exposure to sunlight also lowers blood pressure need more investigation.”
The skin is one of the largest organs of the body and has many functions including as a barrier from the environment, a temperature regulator, an immune organ to detect infections, a sensory organ to detect temperature, touch, vibration, and a visible signal for social communication.
Failure in any of these functions can be serious for the individual, from a health perspective as well as psychologically through a change in physical appearance. The skin reflects a person’s general health and habits – such as smoking, which causes ageing and wrinkling of the skin.
Dr Roula Amer, German Board certified dermatologist at the American Hospital Dubai, said: “The major cause of skin ageing is ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet causes pigmentation changes such as liver spots or sunspots, broken blood vessels, thinning of the dermis and wrinkling of the skin – so protection of the skin against ultraviolet light is important. Certain skin types are more susceptible to these effects and most at risk are those with fair skin that burns easily.” – TradeArabia News Service