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Sunsafe Campaign

How can I protect myself from the sun ?
What type of skin do I have ?
What do I need to know about sunscreens ?
What SPF should I use ?
What's the difference between sunblock and sunscreen ?
What is UVA, UVB and UVC ?
What do I need to know about getting a tan ?
What minor mole changes should I look out for ?
Where can I go for more information ?


How can I protect myself from the sun ? 

  • Sunscreen does not offer complete protection from the sun.
  • Reduce sun exposure between 11am and 3pm.
  • Seek shade e.g. outdoor umbrellas or covered porches.
  • Wear loose-fitting clothing to cover your arms and legs.
  • Wear closely woven, dark coloured material.
  • Wear a wide brimmed hat.
  • Wear wrap-around sunglasses.
  • Apply a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 or higher with UVA and UVB protection.
  • Apply sunscreens at least 20 minutes before you go out. Re-apply every 2 hours.
  • Don't forget a SPF 15 lip balm.
  • Cloudy days are no exception ! Up to 80% of the sun's rays can penetrate light clouds, mist and fog.
  • Watch out for reflected light from sand, snow, concrete and water - up to 85% of the sun's harmful UVB rays can bounce back at you !
  • Keep babies under 1 year out of direct sunlight.
  • Remember don't forget your ears, nose, neck and any bald spots.

What type of skin do I have ?

Sunsafe - Skin Characteristics

What do I need to know about sunscreens ?

Sunscreens are rated by the strength of their SPF (Sun Protection Factor). The SPF number refers to the products ability to block out the suns burning rays.

  • SPF 15 sunscreens block 93% of UVB rays.
  • SPF 30 and higher blocks 97% of UVB rays.

Skin may still tan even when using sunscreen as they allow some UV rays to penetrate. If your skin gets wet from swimming or sweating, re-apply more sunscreen to make sure you are properly protected.

  • Wear a sunscreen that has a SPF 15 or higher.
  • If you have light-coloured skin, eyes and hair or tend to burn, choose a sunscreen with a higher SPF.
  • Make sure your sunscreen offers UVA and UVB protection.
  • Cheaper brands are just as effective.
  • Sunscreens have a shelf life of 2 to 3 years.

What SPF should I use ?

Sunsafe - Time in the sun

What's the difference between sunblock and sunscreen ?

  • Sunblocks create a barrier that reflects UV light
  • Sunscreens absorb the UV rays and prevent penetration through the skin.

What is UVA, UVB and UVC ?

Ultravioilet A rays (UVA) make up most of the sun's natural light. They can penetrate deep into the skin causing wrinkles and ageing.

Ultravoilet B rays (UVB) are the most damaging to our skin. They are the main cause of redness and sunburns as they are nearly 1000 times stronger than UVA rays.

Ultravoilet C rays (short-wave radiation) never reach the earth's surface because the atmosphere filters them out.

UV damage is cumulative, which means every sunburn adds to the previous sun damage that remains in deeper layers of skin.

What do I need to know about getting a tan ?

  • No tan is a safe tan.
  • A tan is evidence of skin damage from exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation.
  • Having a tan does not protect you from skin cancer - continued exposure to the sun increases the risk of skin cancer.
  • When your tan fades, the damage to your skin remains - including wrinkles and sunspots.
  • Sunburns are linked to the risk of non-melanoma skin cancers and malignant melanoma.
  • Just like the sun, tanning lights and sun lamps emit UV rays that can cause sunburns, premature ageing of your skin and cataracts. Research has shown that using sunbeds can increase the risk of skin cancer.

What minor mole changes should I look out for ?

  • An inflamed mole or one with a reddish edge.
  • A bleeding, oozing or crusting mole.
  • A change in the sensation of a mole, like a mild itch.
  • A mole that is bigger than all of your other moles.

Malignant melanoma can be cured if diagnosed early, so be a molewatcher.

Be a molewatcher

Where can I go for more information ?

For further information on sun and skin care or advice on any other health topic call the free healthline on 0500 20 20 30 or visit a healthpoint.