Cancer Focus Northern Ireland teamed up with local MediCare pharmacies to highlight sun safety during Sun Awareness Week (4-10th May).
Our Cancer Focus NI Keeping Well vans also visited the pharmacies offering free skin scanning, sun screen samples and advice on how to take care in the sun to staff and customers.
Research shows that 50% of the population thinks that their skin is darker than it actually is, which may mean they don’t take enough care in the sun.
Marbeth Ferguson, Skin Cancer Co-ordinator for Cancer Focus NI, said: “The vast majority of us have pale skin which offers little natural protection to the damaging effects of ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun.
“Worrying trends in our attitude to our skin type and tanning leads us to increased sun exposure and therefore an increased risk of skin cancer. There are a few top tips we can follow to keep skin healthy and young looking no matter what your skin type.”
- Seek shade and avoid prolonged exposure when the sun is at its strongest – generally 11am to 3pm
- Cover up in the sun with sunglasses and a hat that protect against UV rays
- Use sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 for UVB protection and 4 star for UVA protection. Apply liberally 30 minutes before going out in the sun and don’t forget your head, neck and ears. Re-apply at least every two hours
- Avoid sunburn and take extra care with children as their skin is often more sensitive and easily burned
- Check regularly for any changes to moles
Michael Guerin, MediCare Managing Director, said: “We are delighted that Cancer Focus NI’s team are working with us to bring this very important message to our local community.
“As well as skin cancer, over exposure to the sun also causes premature skin ageing, wrinkling and eye damage, so it is vital that we take the necessary measures to protect ourselves when working outdoors and enjoying outdoor sports and leisure activities.
“Sun safety is essential, not just when travelling to the world’s sunspots, but even in the relatively milder weather conditions locally. Whether you are staying at home or heading off to the sun, speak to your local pharmacist for advice on your sun protection needs.”
Information on skin cancer prevention and sun safety is provided by Cancer Focus NI with the Public Health Agency. For more details visit www.careinthesun.org. If you are concerned about any aspect of cancer, call the Cancer Focus NI free information and support helpline on 0800 783 3339 or email one of the nurses on firstname.lastname@example.org