Wednesday 29 January 2020

Britons 'ignorant' of sunburn risk

The shoulders and back are among the most common places to get sunburnt
The shoulders and back are among the most common places to get sunburnt

More than one in five UK adults do not believe they can get sunburnt if they already have a tan, according to a new survey.

The figures from a YouGov poll of 2,250 people commissioned by Macmillan Cancer Support found that 22% did not believe they could get sunburnt this way while 52% did not realise they could get sunburnt through a window. It also found that two per cent thought it was possible to get sunburnt at night during a full moon.

Carol Goodman, a skin cancer nurse specialist on the Macmillan Support Line, pointed out that the research highlights "a very real problem" when it comes to British attitudes towards tanning and sunburn as many people are putting themselves at risk of skin cancer.

Just 33% said they used suntan lotion that is out of date while 19% said they had used tanning oil instead of sun tan lotion.

Macmillan Cancer Support said it was worrying that some people seemed more concerned with their appearance than the risk of cancer. The research found that 15% of people are more worried about things like the risk of uneven tanlines, peeling, age spots or wrinkles, while 19% are more worried about the pain a sunburn causes than a cancer diagnosis.

The shoulders, back of the neck, back, legs, nose, chest, forehead, feet, hairline and scalp and ears were the most common places to get sunburnt while two per cent of Britons said they had sunburnt their bottoms in the past.

Ms Goodman said: "UK skin cancer death rates are amongst some of the worst in the world and this is largely because many people are still very ignorant about the risks of the sun.

"But the risks are very real, sun tan lotion goes out of date after 12 months so it's important to make sure you stock up each year. Tanning oils have very low SPF protection and therefore mean you are more likely to get burnt.

"It is vital to protect your skin when out in the sun by using sun tan lotion with an SPF of at least 30, wearing sun protective clothing (including hats and sunglasses) or staying in the shade between the hours of 11am and 3pm."

PA Media

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