Child's drawing of sunshine

Stay safe in the sun

It’s going to be really important to protect ourselves and our families from the sun this summer as temperatures are set to soar. Sunburn at best can be uncomfortable and at worst can lead to lasting skin damage.

Too much ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun can damage the DNA in our skin cells and cause skin cancer. Cancer Research UK, a leading cancer research and awareness charity, reports than almost 9 in 10 cases of melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, could be prevented through enjoying the sun safely.

The good news is that staying safe in the sun is as easy as combining clothing, sunscreen and shade – or to SLIP, SLAP, SHADE.

SLIP on sun protective clothing.

  • Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible e.g. shirts with long sleeves and high necks/collars from close weave materials such as cotton, polyester/cotton and linen
  • Wear a hat with a broad brim to protect your face, nose, neck and ears, again made from closely woven fabric – if you can see through it, UV radiation will get through.
  • Wear sunglasses – ideally ones with the British Safety Standard mark and offer 100% UV protection. Worn together with a broad-brimmed hat, it’s possible to reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98%.

SLAP on the sunscreen

Wear broad spectrum sunscreen on skin not protected by clothing. Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30 or higher is most recommended because it filters out about 97% of UVB rays. Apply it liberally to clean, dry skin at least 20 minutes before you go outside and reapply it every two hours.


Stay in the shade, especially between 11am-3pm, to reduce sun exposure. You’ll still need to use your other protection (such as clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen) to avoid reflected UV radiation from nearby surfaces.

What to do if you or your family get sunburn

Skin with darker pigments may not appear red from sunburn, but will feel tight, painful or hot. If you notice this happening to you, or a member of your family complains of these symptoms, come out of the sun and cover up to help stop any further damage. Putting on more sunscreen won’t help and won’t let you safely stay out in the sun for longer. You can ease the discomfort with After Sun lotions.

Reduce your risk of sunburn and protect your skin in the future by using a combination of SLIP, SLAP, SHADE.

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