Sun Care Advice

Exposure to sunshine is the commonest cause of skin cancers.

Different people have different skin types. Some are more prone to burning and sun damage than others. People who have fair skin, blue eyes and fair or red hair are generally more sensitive to the effects of sunshine and need more protection.

Significantly reducing your sun exposure when you have already had one skin cancer halves the risk of a further cancerous skin lesion arising.

Some general advice

In the UK, the sun is less strong than in many other countries and is usually only likely to be harmful during the summer months. Although it is helpful to be aware of the sun during other seasons, there is probably less need to protect yourself. Nowadays, during the summer, the weather forecasts on the television will usually give warnings if high levels of solar ultraviolet (strong sunshine) are likely and often advise on the maximum time that should be spent in the sun.

The fact that you have been advised to be careful about exposure does not mean that you have to avoid the sun altogether, or stop going on nice holidays, or avoid going out when it is sunny. Just take sensible precautions to avoid any prolonged exposure or over-exposure in order to lessen the risk of burning and skin damage.

Some sunshine is good for you, as it helps with natural vitamins, such as Vitamin D, which is needed for healthy bones. Sunshine in sensible amounts may give some protection from certain cancers, such as bowel cancer, and even malignant melanoma. If you have been diagnosed with skin cancer, it is a good idea to have your Vitamin D levels checked and, if they are low, to take extra Vitamin D by tablet under the guidance of your doctor.

In summary: avoid the sun at its hottest and do not burn or try to get a suntan.