Now that we are able to get out and about more, with restrictions lifting, we need to be cautious of not being exposed to too much sun.

Sunburn, just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma skin cancer. Anyone can get sunburnt or develop skin cancer, but some people are at a higher risk and need to take more care in the sun.

Sunburn doesn’t just happen abroad or on summer holidays. The sun is often strong enough in the UK to damage your skin, even if it’s cold or cloudy.

Do I need to protect my skin?

Up to 9 in 10 cases of melanoma skin cancer could be prevented by enjoying the sun safely. So, whether you’re working outside, doing the gardening or sitting in the park, it’s important to be sun smart. When the sun is strong, think about protecting your skin by:

  • Spending time in the shade – take a break under an umbrella, tree, or head inside
  • Covering up – wear loose clothing with a wide brimmed hat and UV protection sunglasses
  • Using Sunscreen – on bits that you can’t cover with clothes or shade. Use plenty with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars, and reapply regularly

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When is the sun the strongest – the shadow rule

Another handy tip to help you work out when the sun is strong is the ‘shadow rule’. It’s simple and it works anywhere in the world. It’s also a fun way to talk to children about enjoying the sun safely.

Look at your shadow and if it is shorter than your height this means that the sun’s UV rays are strong. So that’s when you’re more likely to burn and need to take care and protect your skin, especially if you get sunburnt easily.

You should take more care in the sun if you have one or more of the following:

  • skin that burns easily
  • light or fair coloured skin, hair, or light coloured eyes
  • lots of moles or freckles
  • a history of sunburn
  • a personal or family history of skin cancer

You’re the best person to know how your skin reacts to the sun. The more easily you get sunburnt, the more careful you need to be. Remember, you don’t need to peel – if your skin’s gone red, pink, itchy or tender in the sun, that’s sunburn.

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