Top tips for sun awareness

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Sun Awareness Week runs in May and marks the start of a summer-long Sun Awareness Campaign that emphasises the importance of sun protection and encourages people to raise awareness themselves!

soak up sun safely with sun awareness

While sunlight offers numerous benefits, overexposure can lead to sunburn, premature aging, and an increased risk of skin cancer. However, this doesn't mean you need to avoid the sun altogether!  Taking a few precautions while outdoors during the summer or on sunny holidays can safeguard you from sunburn and the potential risk of skin cancer.  

top tips for sun awareness

Wear sunscreen.  Choose a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours, especially if swimming or sweating. Don't forget to cover often-overlooked areas like your ears, lips, and the tops of your feet.  Protect your eyes too with sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays - look for a label that says "UV protection" or "blocks 99% of UVA and UVB rays."   It's important to know that no sunscreen will provide 100% protection and should not be used as an alternative to clothing and shade, rather they offer additional protection.  

Seek shade, especially in peak sun hours!  Shade not only provides relief from the heat but also reduces your exposure to harmful UV rays.  The sun's rays are strongest between 11 am and 3 pm. Whenever possible, plan outdoor activities for earlier or later in the day. If you must be outside during peak hours, find shade under trees, umbrellas, or canopies. Remember, shade moves with the sun, so keep an eye on it and adjust your position throughout the day.

Don't be fooled by clouds!  Don't be fooled by clouds or cooler temperatures!  UV rays can still penetrate on cloudy days and even in winter. Make sun protection a habit, regardless of the season or weather conditions.

Stay hydrated.  Staying hydrated is essential for overall health, especially during hot summer days. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to prevent dehydration and help your body regulate its temperature. Avoid excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption, as these can contribute to dehydration. Opt for hydrating foods too, like fruits and vegetables to replenish electrolytes and keep your skin healthy from the inside out.

Dress for sun protection. Choose clothing that provides sun protection by covering as much skin as possible.  Opt for lightweight, long-sleeved shirts in breathable fabrics like cotton or linen. Consider wearing UV-protective clothing for added defense against the sun's harmful effects.

Be mindful of medications: Some medications can increase your skin's sensitivity to sunlight, making you more susceptible to sunburn. Check the labels of prescription and over-the-counter medications for any warnings about sun exposure. If you're unsure, consult your healthcare provider or pharmacist for guidance on how to protect your skin while taking medication

Examine your skin regularly Keep an eye out for any changes in your moles or freckles. If you notice any changes in size, shape, or color, be sure to see a doctor. 

Skin cancer is a condition characterised by the abnormal growth of skin cells, typically caused by damage from ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or artificial sources like tanning beds. There are two main categories of skin cancer – melanoma and non-melanoma.  Early detection and treatment are crucial, as untreated skin cancer can spread to other parts of the body and become life-threatening. Prevention measures such as discussed above are essential in reducing the risk of developing skin cancer.   For more information click here

Sun awareness is key to enjoying the summer months safely

By following these top tips, you can protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays while still enjoying outdoor activities. Remember to wear sunscreen daily, seek shade when possible, protect your eyes, dress for sun protection, stay hydrated, and be mindful of medications that may increase sun sensitivity. With these precautions in mind, you can soak up the sun responsibly and maintain healthy skin all summer long.

sun awareness

sun awareness download poster

To download our Sun Exposure Awareness Poster click here.

References and further reading

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