Skin cancers are caused by damage from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV rays penetrate deep into the skin and damage cells. These cells are then at risk of becoming cancerous. You can’t feel UV damaging your skin and it happens even when the sun doesn’t feel hot.
Who’s at risk?
People who spend a lot of time in the sun, whether it’s for work or play, are at increased risk of skin cancer if they don’t take the right precautions. People with naturally brown or black skin are less likely to get skin cancer, as darker skin has some protection against UV rays. However, skin cancer can still occur.
Be safe in the sun
Sun safety tips:
♦ Spend time in the shade from 11am to 3pm from March to October.
♦ Make sure you never burn.
♦ Cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses.
♦ Remember to take extra care with children.
♦ Use at least SPF15 sunscreen.
Advice for babies and children
Take extra care to protect babies and children. Their skin is much more sensitive than adult skin, and repeated exposure to sunlight could lead to skin cancer developing in later life.
Suitable clothing and sunscreen
Skin should be protected from strong sunlight by covering up with suitable clothing, staying in the shade and applying sunscreen.
When buying sunscreen, make sure it’s suitable for your skin type and blocks both ultraviolet A (UVA) and ultraviolet B (UVB) radiation.
Sunscreen should be applied to all exposed skin, including the face, neck and ears (and head if you have thinning or no hair), but a wide-brimmed hat is better.
Wearing a wide-brimmed hat can reduce the amount of UV rays that reach your face and eyes.
Sunglasses can also offer protection, but not all are good enough. Choose a pair with wraparound lenses or wide arms.