Slip, slap…what? Is the sun really that bad for you?

Mim blogs on skin, sunlight and melanoma: can we trust the death rates around the world or should we give up our vampire looks for a bit more vitamin D? She shares a sunburn remedy and the results of a 13-year dermatology study.

While not quite a case of ‘lies, damned lies and statistics’ the melanoma/sunlight connection gets more and more confusing.

For years now, we have been slathering sunblock cream over our bodies and, like a herd of vampires, avoiding the merest glimpse of the sun’s rays. Yet death rates from melanoma around the world keep rising and rising. Or do they? In a 13-year study published in the British Journal of Dermatology (yes, yes, I know it’s the Old Blighty, but the principle remains the same), researchers claim that the mortality rate of melanoma remains steady, whereas the incidence of doctors reporting certain markers that may or may not result in malignant melanomas increased substantially. Perhaps, it’s more about ‘a little of what you fancy does you good’. Of course, everyone agrees that too much sun – sunburn – is not good for you, at any level.

Sunburn remedy

The ultimate relief from sunburn is free if you grow aloe vera in your garden. And its application is simple. Cut an outside leaf close to the base of the plant. With a sharp knife or vegetable peeler remove the outer layer, taking care to remove all the yellow latex. (Avoid this yellow latex completely during pregnancy, although the gel is fine.) Mash the gel and apply to your sunburn. Use within 24 hours.

Summer skin saver

Remember all that sugar you gave up on New Year’s Eve? It can be put to good use as a moisturising body scrub.


  • 1/3 cup of jojoba or olive oil
  • 4 drops of lavender oil, 4 drops sandalwood oil
  • Castor sugar, pour in enough sugar to soak up the oil, firm enough to pick up in your hand.


  1. Stand in shower, or bathtub. Starting from the feet, massage the sugar crystals up legs, tummy, buttocks, hands, arms and shoulders. Avoid the sensitive skin of the throat and face.
  2. Wash off with warm water. Your skin will glow with good health.

Maybe you have your own tried and tested sunburn remedies you’d like to share…