Each year as summer approaches, prevention messages follow one another to raise public awareness of solar risks, punctuated by a series of advice on how to protect against them. And for good reason, more than 80% of skin cancers are linked to excessive exposure to the sun, according to data published by Public Health France.
It only took one and only shot to put the Twittersphere in turmoil. Nothing provocative or entertaining, just a photo of a 92-year-old woman who has been applying sunscreen to her face, but not her neck, for 40 years. The result is striking, to the point of having convinced tens of thousands of users to adopt the right actions in the face of sun risks.
Beyond the summer period, which requires special attention, it is advisable to remain vigilant throughout the year to its exposure to the sun. This is all the more valid if you work outdoors, have children likely to increase outdoor activities, or have a low phototype which corresponds to very white skin, blond or red hair, and light eyes.
Strong excitement on Twitter
This is what has just shown a snapshot published on social networks by a dermatologist from New York State, Dr. Avi Bitterman. We can see the face and neck of a 92-year-old woman, as the health professional himself explains. A priori, not enough to create the event on the social network. Originally taken from the Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, which uses it as an example to illustrate a report entitled “Research on aging: rethinking the primary prevention of skin cancer”, the photo actually depicts the damage of the sun on four decades.
As the dermatologist points out on his Twitter account, the woman in question has used “UV protection creams on her face, but not on her neck, for over 40 years”. And the result is final. Unlike the skin of the face, the skin of the neck of this anonymous patient is covered in spots, and much more wrinkled than her cheeks and cheekbones. A cliché that says a lot about the importance of protecting yourself from any exposure to the sun.
The reactions were immediate. Surprised, if not shocked, Twitter users have in turn communicated on the consequences of non-compliance with prevention rules regarding sun exposure. Within days, the post garnered over 240,000 likes, and was retweeted over 30,000 times.
The dermatologist has since posted, or reposted, other photos of the same type to warn even more about sun risks. In particular, we can discover the arms and thighs of a man who “worked 50 years in the sun but [n’a] never left[é] home without pants”, just as spectacular.
According to Public Health France, 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year in France. While it is important to protect yourself from the sun by taking your phototype into account, such as the conditions of sunshine, it is also recommended to limit the duration of exposure, and to cover yourself with suitable clothing.