19th June 2019

Sun awareness and sun safety promoted

Members of the dermatology specialist nurse team have been raising awareness of the dangers of burning and tanning excessively in the sun, during sun awareness week.

Dermatology team promote sun awareness. Julie Smithson - Macmillan Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist (3rd from right)

Dermatology team promote sun awareness. Julie Smithson – Macmillan Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist (3rd from right)

The team were on hand at a display stand to provide advice on how to spot signs of skin cancer as well as discouraging the use of sun beds. Samples of sun cream were available to take home and try, as well as sun safety activities for children. Younger visitors to the display stand took the opportunity to take away and colour in a ‘sun hat’.

Julie Smithson, Macmillan Dermatology Clinical Nurse Specialist said: “The sunshine can be good for us, below sun burn level, helping our body create Vitamin D and enjoying summer activities outdoors give us a feeling of wellbeing. However, we often over-do our sun exposure and get ‘caught out’. Many associate a tan with looking healthy but a tan is actually a sign that our skin has been damaged by UV radiation and is trying to protect itself against further harm. This over exposure can cause a range of skin problems the most serious being skin cancer.”

She added: “We want to remind local residents and visitors that the local area is known for having one of the highest amounts of sunshine in the South and we want everyone to remember not over-do their sun exposure. Don’t get caught out, take steps to not let you skin burn or to develop a deep tan.”

Top tips for staying safe in the sun include:

  • Protect your skin with clothing, including a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses
  • Spend time in the shade between 11.00am and 3.00pm when it’s sunny
  • Use a sun scream of at least SPF 30 with a high UVA protection and reapply it generously and frequently when in the sun
  • Keep babies and young children out of direct sunlight

In 2017 a study published by the British Association of Dermatologists reported that 35% of people admitted they had a sun burn every year in the UK, with a further 46% burning whilst abroad. Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and rates continue to rise.