UK sunburn risk: Third of adults more likely to protect their skin abroad than at home

People enjoying the sun safely

Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN are encouraging people to enjoy the warm weather safely, as a third of adults say they’re more likely to protect their skin abroad than in the UK.

The YouGov survey, which asked 4,442 UK adults about their behaviour in the sun, revealed that around a fifth of adults (19%) said they’re planning to spend more time outside in the sun in the UK this year. And with 29% saying they’d been sunburnt in the UK over the last 12 months, being safe in the sun is vitally important.

Karis Betts, health information manager at Cancer Research UK advises: “Whether you are on a staycation or just heading outside for a walk or a picnic, it’s important to remember the sun isn’t only strong abroad – it can be strong enough in the UK to cause damage too.

“Even if it doesn’t feel that warm, or it’s a cloudy day, it’s still possible to get burnt; a clear sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged. Much of this damage gets repaired, but the body isn’t perfect, and some can get left behind. Over time, damage can build up and eventually lead to skin cancer.”

1 in 4 men don’t apply sunscreen in the UK

The figures were released as part of Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN’s partnership, which offers advice to make sure everyone enjoys the summer safely.

Key stats from the survey include:

  • A third of UK adults say they typically don’t do anything to protect themselves from the sun whilst in their garden or outside space.
  • Almost a third admit to burning in the UK in the past year.
  • A quarter of men don’t apply sunscreen before going out into the sun on a sunny day in the UK.
  • 1 in 20 – which translates to almost 2.6 million people in the UK adult population overall – say they will not be taking care of their skin in the UK or abroad.

Experts caution that whether on holiday or doing everyday activities, it’s important to protect skin by covering up, seeking shade and regularly applying sunscreen.

“Avoid getting caught out by checking the UV index on the weather forecast or online. If it’s 3 or above it’s time to think about sun safety – especially if you have light or fair coloured skin or burn easily,” said Betts.

“Whatever you are doing, remember the three-step method to enjoy the warm weather safely – cover up, seek shade and regularly apply sunscreen.”

Staying safe this summer

Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN have created easy-to-remember advice on how to stay safe when the sun is strong this summer:

  1. Seek shade. Especially between the hours of 11am-3pm in the UK
  2. Cover up with clothing. Wear a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses
  3. Apply sunscreen. Regularly and generously apply one with at least SPF 15 and 4 or more stars

For more tips, visit Cancer Research UK’s sun safety information.

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