Every year, more than 100,000 people in the UK are diagnosed with skin cancer and over 2,500 lose their lives as a result*. Skin cancer is largely a preventable disease, with high factor sunscreen helping to protect the skin against harmful UV rays of the sun. Here are some top tips from our pharmacist, Omar, on how to stay safe in the sun.
- If possible, avoid unnecessary sun exposure from 10am to 4pm when UV rays are at their strongest. Bear in mind that even when it is overcast you are at risk of burning as UV rays can pass through the clouds.
- Two teaspoons (30ml) of sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or above should be applied 20-30 minutes before going outside and reapplied every 2 hours or more if you're sweating or are particularly active. For children, you should reapply every 20-40 minutes to avoid burning.
- On hot days it's best to ensure skin is adequately covered with clothing and consider wearing a broad-brimmed hat to keep as much sun off your face as possible.
- Even if you are naturally tanned, or have a darker skin tone, you can still get sunburnt and should apply sunscreen.
- Many people who spend a large portion of their time on the road do not realise the high level of UV rays they are exposed to. Some UV radiation can pass through glass and, therefore, go on to damage the skin over a long period of time. In addition to covering the skin and using sunscreen consider tinting or laminating your windows to reduce UV exposure.
Did you know that under current UK tax law, sunscreen is categorised as a luxury and therefore is subject to cosmetic levels of VAT at 20%?
At Chemist Direct we think sun safety is a necessity, which is why we've launched the 'Burn The VAT' petition to Her Majesty's Treasury to cut VAT on sunscreen. The petition aims to ensure the public stays safe in the sun this summer by making sunscreen more affordable to all. To sign our petition visit here.
* Source: British Skin Foundation, March 2013