How to stay safe in the sun this Sun Awareness Week

Sun Awareness Week runs from 2 May to 8 May and focuses on educating people about the risks that increased sun exposure can have on your health.

sun awareness week
SPF should be used all year round, rain or shine

As we enter the spring and summer months, it can be easy to want to get out into the sun at the first sight of good weather, however leading skin cancer expert Dr Paul Banwell says we should be taking a more cautious approach.

"Rushing outside into the spring sunshine is good for the soul but not for the skin," he says. "The body just is not prepared for this, and a suntan is actually a sign that your skin has been damaged."

More than one in three Brits admit to being sunburnt while in the UK, according to a survey carried out by the British Association of Dermatologists.

Whilst it is important to be cautious, this doesn’t have to put a stop to having fun in the sun. Ensuring you’re taking measures to protect your skin whilst in the sun is extremely important, as Dr Banwell says. The best way of doing this is to make sure you wear an SPF every day, not only on particularly hot days.

"It is essential that greater emphasis is placed on the importance of regular SPF application, even when it's not sunny," says Dr Banwell. "Also an improved system for checking your back for moles, this can be done with the help of a partner or by using a phone to take pictures and monitor changes."

On top of regular SPF use, it is also important to know what to look for and be aware of the risks of skin cancer. As skin cancer comes in all shapes and sizes; non-melanoma skin cancers and malignant melanomas, it can sometimes be hard to know what to look out for.

The most common sign of melanoma is the appearance of a new mole or a change to an existing mole, and Dr Banwell says that although they can happen anywhere on the body, the most common area for men is on the back and on the legs for women.

Check out the video below for some of the best SPFs to help protect your skin in the sunshine!