Sun Awareness Week

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This week it’s Sun Awareness Week. With good reason – despite all the information out there 35 per cent of Brits have got sunburnt in the past year. And that’s just while in Britain!

British people are even more likely to get sunburnt abroad, with nearly half who’ve been abroad in the past 12 months getting sunburnt. This is all according to a survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists that has organised the awareness week.

The Association also discovered that eight out of ten people fail to apply sunscreen correctly before going out in the sun. As well, that seven out of ten fail to reapply sunscreen at the recommended frequency of every two hours.

Of course, the fear is that sunburn can lead to skin cancer. It’s dangerous because of the damage the UV rays cause to DNA inside cells.

So it’s vital to know the sun facts:

  • The sun’s damaging UV rays are always strongest when the sun is highest in the sky, which in the UK summer is between 11am and 3pm.
  • Britain’s sunshine can be strong enough to burn from the beginning of April until the end of September – even on a cloudy day or one that doesn’t feel too warm.
  • Sunburn just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma (a malignant tumour).
  • No sunscreen is completely effective. Sunscreens with SPF lower than 15 aren’t recommended. Remember to store suncream in a cool place and check when it runs out – its effectiveness doesn’t last forever.
  • A tan (for instance from a sunbed before your holiday) offers little protection against the sun – possibly only equivalent to using a factor 3 sunscreen. According to the experts, sunbeds can cause skin cancer and there’s no such thing as a safe tan.
  • Some UV rays can get through glass. So if you spend lots of time driving or sitting in a conservatory when the sun is strong, you still could be at risk.

Enjoy the warmth of the sun, but be sensible!