Safety in the sun

Slap on the sunscreen to be safe this summer.
Slap on the sunscreen to be safe this summer.

Just before the summer sun breaks the clouds, this is Sun Awareness Week - with some top tips to keep people safe.

Sun Awareness Week, organised by the British Association of Dermatologists, runs until May 10 and aims to highlight the need to protect against prolonged exposure to the sun.

Summertime means time outdoors, whether on trips to the park or at a barbecue with family and friends.

But without taking simple precautions to guard against the effects of the sun there is a much greater risk of skin cancer and other serious health conditions.

Here in Scotland, the summer sun is at its peak between the hours of 11 am and 3 pm and it is especially important to protect against burning during these times. A few simple steps help reduce risk, including staying in the shade or keeping covered with clothing.

If you can’t avoid the sun, make sure you wear sunscreen with a minimum protection factor of 30. And be stylish with some fashionable accessories - wear sunglasses and hats to protect the face and eyes.

Dr Susannah Fraser, a consultant dermatologist with NHS Fife, warned that it’s not just overseas that people should protect themselves against the sun: “The sun in Scotland can be harsh enough to cause sunburn,” she said, “which can lead to skin cancer and premature aging. Children’s skin is more sensitive to the sun, so SPF50 should be applied liberally and frequently, and hats should be worn.” Dr Fraser added.

She also advised have any changes to skin lesions checked out.