The sun isn’t a friend

So says Dr Damien Giacchero, a dermatologist at Archet 2 in Nice, and we’re glad to quote him to reinforce the usual warning about over-exposure to the summer sun (even when, as this year, it arrived late).

Sun BurnSunburn isn’t funny – it’s not just the immediate discomfort but it can lead years later to skin cancer (up to 15,000 new cases a year in France). Those scorching rays can be especially harmful to children, especially up to age around 15; no child under 5 should be exposed to the sun. A sunburnt child is twenty times more likely to develop skin cancer later in life. In general those with lighter skin, at any age, are more at risk.

Basic precautions are: wear light clothing, a hat, sunglasses (see elsewhere in this issue) and apply sun cream regularly when in the sun (index at least 30) and after bathing. And lay it on thick! And note this: if you’re on medication check with your doctor before sunbathing. Some pharmaceuticals are photosensitive – there’s a list at – and sun can induce toxic or allergic effects. This is true of several acne remedies.

Finally, a word in favour of the sun: in our region limited exposure without burning – say for 20 minutes or so in the summer – will boost the body’s production of vitamin D3 which is recognised as increasing overall health. An adequate intake of D3 cuts the risk of several cancers, heart disease, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.