Being SunSmart

Day to day we are all exposed to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun, even in Great Britain. Small amounts of UV are beneficial but over-exposure is a major factor in the causation of skin cancers. Frequent sun exposure and sunburn in childhood appear to be prominent factors in cases of skin cancer.

SMSS has compiled a list of simple daily measures you can take to protect you and your family from these dangers:

  • Each morning, in all seasons, apply a moisturiser with a minimum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 to hands and face.
  • When outside, gardening, walking, or participating in sport for instance, wear a broad brimmed hat.
  • Make sure babies and children are protected with sunscreen and hats and keep them out of the sun as much as possible.

UV Radiation can depend on these factors, it is not only sunbathing on the beach which can subject you to these harmful rays:

  • The higher the sun in the sky, the higher the UV levels.
  • The closer to the equator, the higher the UV levels.
  • At altitude, a thinner atmosphere means less UV is absorbed and the rays are stronger.
  • A depleted ozone layer, due to global warming, leads to raised levels of UV in affected areas.
  • UV levels can still be high on a cloudy day.
  • Sand, snow and water all reflect UV rays back onto us, therefore intensifying radiation.

Escaping to the sun is popular for many people in the UK. To be SunSmart follow these simple steps and avoid harmful over-exposure whether on the beach, by the pool or on the ski-slopes:

  • Limit exposure between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its highest – take a long lunch and a siesta
  • Be particularly careful of exposure in the first two or three days, sunburn is extremely painful, and doesn’t look good in holiday snaps!
  • Seek shade. Sit under an umbrella rather than in direct sunlight.
  • Wear protective clothing when walking, including a broad brimmed hat, and a shirt to protect your shoulders.
  • Wear sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection lenses.
  • Use and regularly reapply sunscreen with an SPF factor of at least 15
  • Use a total sun-block on babies and children as they are particularly vulnerable to UV rays
  • Even when tanned, continue to use a high SPF and don’t ever use tanning oils.