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Sun protection

Skin cancer is one of the most common cancers in the UK and the number of people who develop it is increasing. The majority of cases are caused by ultraviolet radiation from the sun or sun beds. Health Maters have made a simple guide to help you protect yourself this summer.

Know the day's UV index

Check the local paper or alternatively there are website that can tell you. A high index calls for increased protection.

Peak heat

Try to avoid exposure to the sun between 10am and 3pm, when rays are at their strongest. This doesn't mean that you have to lock yourself away, try finding adequate shade to protect yourself and others.


Be aware of reflections off water, cement, sand and other reflective surfaces as they can double your exposure to ultraviolet light! Sun also penetrates water down to 10 feet which makes prolonged periods in shallow water harmful. Avoid sun damage through windows, especially when driving. Tinted windows are not just for the stars especially if you have passengers or children in the car, legally tinted windows can help block the sun's rays.


Use sunscreen with a minimum of SPF 15, even on clear and cloudy days. Do not lengthen your exposure to the sun because you are wearing sunscreen. Studies show that people, especially children, wearing sunscreen stay out in the sun about 22% longer than those who are not. Why? Because sunburn is nature's way of reminding us that we are overdoing it, and sunburn is delayed by sunscreens.
Apply sunscreen to dry skin 15 to 30 minutes before going outdoors, allowing proper absorption, and re-apply every two hours, especially if you're swimming or perspiring.
Apply sunscreen even if you are wearing lightweight clothing. A standard T-shirt provides SPF protection of only 6-8.
Apply sunscreen to your lips, ears back of legs and even soles of your feet, often forgotten areas.
Limit a child's exposure to the sun. Apply sunscreen to children six months or older. Experts estimate that 80% of lifetime sun damage occurs in the first 18 years.


Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection that filters at least 80% of sunlight. Not only are you protecting your eyesight, but the surrounding sensitive skin as well.
See our UVA, SPF, Pollen count! What does it all mean? news article to fully understand the abbreviations.
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Editor: Ryan Cranston

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All content within this article is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. Health Matters is not responsible or liable for any diagnosis made by a user based on the content of the Health Matters website. Health Matters is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed. Always consult your own GP if you're in any way concerned about your health.

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