Hot sun

Stay Safe in the Sun

One thing we can all agree on is that the UK is not a hot country. Unfortunately. this does tend to mean that we are unprepared for the hotter weather; we are simply not in the habit of having to keep ourselves safe in the sun. The bad news is that over-exposure to the sun can leave us with more that blistered skin.

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the world, but also one of the most preventable: by enjoying the sun safely we could prevent 90% of the most serious type of skin cancer, melanoma, according to the NHS. The good news is that all we need to enjoy the sun safely is to use a combination of shade, clothing and sunscreen.

SLIP on sun protective clothing

You can buy clothes and swimwear with SPF. But you can also make sure you wear clothing which covers as much skin as possible e.g., shirts with long sleeves and high necks/collars and long, loose trousers or skirts. Close weave materials, such as cotton, polyester and linen will also add protection

SLOP on some sun screen

Make sure your sunscreen is broad spectrum, water-resistant and SPF15 at minimum. Apply sunscreen liberally to clean, dry skin at least 20 minutes before you go outside and reapply every two hours. Set a timer on your watch to remind you. 

We can’t feel UV rays – the heat we feel comes from the sun’s infrared rays, which can’t burn you. This means we can still burn, even if we don’t feel it at the time. Make sure you apply sunscreen on all parts of your body that are exposed to the sun; a survey found 60% of British people forget parts of the body when applying sun cream - with ears, eyelids and feet most at risk.

SLAP on a hat

Choose a broad brim hat to provide good protection for the face, nose, neck and ears, which are common sites for skin cancers. Caps and visors do not provide enough protection. Choose a closely woven fabric, because if you can see through your hat, UV radiation will certainly get through.

SLIDE on some sunglasses

It’s important that both adults and children wear sunglasses – ideally that carry the British Safety Standard mark and offer 100% Ultra Violet (UV) protection. Worn together with a broad-brimmed hat, it’s possible to reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98%. This is important because UV rays can have harmful effects on the eyelid, cornea, lens and retina.

SEEK shade

Stay in the shade, for example under an umbrella, tree, or other shelter, especially between 11am-3pm, to reduce sun exposure. Remember to make sure that you stay in the shade as the sun moves around the sky, so you may find your shady spot disappears quickly. The best way to protect your skin is to use sunscreen or wear protective clothing when you're outside—even when you're in the shade.

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