Almost a quarter of women are increasing their risk of developing skin cancer by not using sun protection lotion even when exposed to strong sunshine, Macmillan Cancer Support has reported.
The charity questioned 1500 adult women last month about their use of sun lotion, and their reasoning behind their use of protection – or lack of use.
The survey showed that 22% of women do not use sun protection cream even when they are in a hot country. Of these, almost a quarter (24%) claimed that this was because they don’t burn in the sun; 14% said that sun lotion was too expensive; and 12% said they didn’t believe it protected them.
However, nearly four-fifths (79%) of the women questioned said they had previously been badly sunburnt – and almost half of them (45%) mistakenly thought that sun protection cream could at least partly reverse sun damage already caused to their skin.
Carol Goodman, a Macmillan Information Nurse specialist, said: “As people are preparing to go abroad for their annual holiday, it is very concerning that nearly a quarter of British women are putting themselves at risk of skin cancer by not wearing any suntan lotion abroad. Over two and a half thousand people die of skin cancer every year and so it is a real issue.” She reminded the public about avoiding the peak times of day, and that lotion should be applied thickly well before sun exposure, and reapplied regularly.
Stephen Jones, president of the British Association of Dermatologists – whose research has shown that 92% of people have been sunburnt at least once, and a third have been burnt more than 10 times – told the BBC: “Not everyone’s skin offers the same level of protection in the sun, which is why it’s really important to get to know your own risk level – for example, people with pale skin who burn easily or those with a close family history of skin cancer are at greater risk of sun damage and need to take extra steps to protect themselves.”