A survey of customers at Laserase Bolton shows that over a third of people suffered sunburn in the last year, risking skin cancer and other skin problems.
This follows a recent study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of 2,000 UK adults which found that many people are confused by the labels on sunscreens, with 20% of people unaware that the SPF rating does not mean protection against all sun damage – only that from UVB rays.
The Laserase Bolton survey revealed that although most people are aware of the increased risk of skin cancer from getting sunburned, it didn’t stop over 35% of people getting burned in the last year. And almost half of people (48%) admitted to only using sunscreen when they are on holiday or actually sunbathing, even though experts agree that you should protect your skin whenever you are exposed to the summer sun.
Julie Kershaw, Clinic Manager at Laserase Bolton, said: “Our survey showed that 92% of people are aware of the increased risk of skin cancer associated with over exposure to the sun, so this message is clearly getting through to people. However, a worrying number of Boltonians are choosing to ignore the evidence and risk not protecting their skin and getting sunburned.”
According to Cancer Research UK, measures including using shade, clothing and sunscreen, together offer the best protection against overexposure to UV radiation from the sun. However, the Laserase Bolton survey showed that only a fifth of people would actually cover up and wear protective clothing in the sun. And while most people would wear sunglasses, only 58% would consider wearing a hat. Less than half of respondents said they would avoid the sun when it was most intense.
Julie added: “Despite all the publicity about the need to wear sunscreen, one in 10 people in our survey never do and 18% only apply sunscreen once a day. As well as the increased risk of skin cancer, these people risk a range of other skin health problems including premature lines and wrinkles, blotches and blemishes and accelerated ageing of the skin.
“At Laserase Bolton, our doctors and nurses recommend a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor of 30 or more, although the higher the SPF, the greater the protection from UVB rays. Sunscreen should be applied liberally to all exposed areas before going into the sun and reapplied at two hourly intervals, or more often if it is washed or rubbed off.”
According to the latest figures from Cancer Research UK, there are over 13,000 new cases of malignant melanoma every year in the UK.