Sun lovers urged to protect themselves from harm

Local health experts are urging people to protect themselves against the sun to reduce the risk of skin cancer during Sun Awareness week 14-20 May.

Sunburn increases the risk of skin cancer and those exposed to the sun can burn in Brighton and Hove, even when it's cloudy. Skin cancer is very common in England. There are two main types of skin cancer: the more common but less serious non-melanoma, and malignant melanoma.

Figures show that Brighton and Hove is significantly above the national average for incidents of malignant melanoma, with 32.7 cases per 100,000 people, higher than the national average of 23.3 per 100,000.

NHS Brighton and Hove CCG recommends following these tips to stay safe in the sun:

  • Spend time in the shade between 11:00 and 15:00
  • Make sure you never burn
  • Cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
  • Take extra care with children
  • Use at least factor 15 sunscreen

Dr David Supple, Clinical Chair at NHS Brighton and Hove CCG, said: “We’re our urging residents and visitors to our city to be aware of the dangers of being in the sun without protection.

“Going into shade, wearing clothing and sunglasses, and using sunscreen which is at least factor 15 with good UV-A protection on all exposed skin  (at least 4 stars and SPF 30 is considered as a good standard of protection), will all help reduce the risks we all face when going out in the sun for long periods.”

Anyone who notices a change to a mole, freckle or normal patch of skin, should tell their doctor. The earlier skin cancer is caught, the easier it is to treat. More information on spotting the symptoms of skin cancer is available from NHS Choices.

For those who do get sunburn, the NHS recommends having a cold bath or shower to cool down the skin, or you can sponge your skin with cold water or hold a cold flannel against it. Drink plenty of water to avoid dehydration. And apply soothing lotions, such as those containing Aloe Vera, to moisturise the skin.