Sun Protection

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Skin Protection from UV Rays

Too much ultraviolet (UV) light, either from natural sunlight or from artificial sources such as sunbeds, is the main cause of 80% of skin cancers.

Many skin cancers are preventable. Remember:

  • UV damage to your skin cells can start before your skin tans or burns
  • As well as increasing your risk of skin cancer, over exposure to UV rays can speed up skin ageing and the appearance of skin pigmentation spots
  • When it’s sunny, spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm. Protect yourself when the UV index is 3 or higher
  • Sunscreens do not offer 100% protection and should be used along with other protection
  • Sunbeds should be avoided
  • Early detection of skin cancer is very important so examine your own skin about once a month. If in doubt, get it checked out by a GP

Ways to enjoy the sun safely

Anyone can develop skin cancer, but some people are more likely to get the disease than others. The best way to enjoy the sun safely and protect your skin from sunburn is to use a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen. Your skin type is an important factor. Other risk factors include:

  • Children have sensitive skin and should always be protected
  • A personal or family history of skin cancer
  • Lots of moles (50-100) or unusual moles (large, uneven colour or irregular border)
  • History of severe sunburn, especially in childhood
  • Reduced immunity e.g. due to an organ transplant

Find out more about skin cancer risk factors.