Leeds expert warns over over dangers of sun

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As the weather warms up, expert are warning people to ensure their skin is protected.

A new poll for Sun Awareness Week, which starts today, has found that 80 per cent of people are failing to adequately apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. The survey also showed that 70 per cent of people don’t reapply sunscreen every two hours as recommended.

Johnathon Major, of the British Association of Dermatologists, said: “These results show just how widely sunscreens are not being used properly by the British public, and highlight an important area for sun awareness campaigns to target. While we have succeeded in making people aware of the link between sunburn and skin cancer, we have more work to do in teaching people how to use sunscreen properly. Education is key if we are going improve sun safety habits and prevent the public from putting themselves at risk.”

Leeds consultant dermatological surgeon Wal Hussain, of Spire Leeds Hospital in Roundhay, warned that the danger remained even on cloudy days: “The danger is when there is cloud cover or a breeze that is making everything appear cooler. Clouds reduce the amount of ultraviolet A and B radiation that reaches the earth’s surface and our skin, but don’t stop the damaging rays.

“I would advise that, particularly between 11am and 3pm when the sun rays are at their strongest, you put kids in long sleeved tee-shirts and light, long trousers.

“It is always better to be safe than sorry and my advice would be that if you are outdoors in summer take care. Just because you can’t feel the burn doesn’t mean you aren’t burning.”

How to look after your skin

Spend time in the shade during the sunniest part of the day when the sun is at its strongest, which is usually between 11am and 3pm in the summer months.

Avoid direct sun exposure for babies and very young children.

Wear protective clothing – the tighter the knit or weave, the smaller the holes and the less UV can get through. Keep yourself well covered, with a hat, T-shirt, and sunglasses to give you additional protection.

Use SPF 30+ with broad spectrum UVA sunscreen, apply liberally and re-apply every two hours.

Never use sunscreen to increase the amount of time you can spend in the sun.

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