How to apply sunscreen 

An expert explains why it is important to protect your skin from sunburn to help avoid skin cancer. She also gives advice on how to apply sunscreen correctly and what to look out for when buying sun cream.

Read the sun safety Q&A

Transcript of How to apply sunscreen

Sunburn is your skin's response

to damage from the ultraviolet radiation in the sun or from sun beds.

Getting sunburnt can increase your risk of melanoma,

the most serious form of skin cancer.

We also know that melanoma is a cancer that affects all ages.

The first thing about sun protection is that it's not all about sunscreen.

Sunscreen isn't a magic barrier to stop you burning and decrease your risk.

It's important to think about everything you can do to protect yourself,

using clothing, hats,

tee-shirts and seeking out shade when it gets really hot.

When you choose a sunscreen, choose one that's a minimum of factor 15,

to give you a certain amount of protection from the sun.

The higher factor you use, the more protection you'll have.

There are two sorts of radiation from the sun, UVA and UVB,

and the star system reflects the UVA protection,

so you want something at least four stars of UVA protection

and at least factor 15.

The price of your sunscreen isn't important, it's the protection it gives.

You want factor 15 and at least four stars for UVA protection.

There's lots of great own-brands. It doesn't have to be a big-name brand.

Get one with the protection you need at a price you can afford.

It does matter how you put it on and about your skin type.

Some people are very susceptible to burning,

so you shouldn't just rely on sunscreen.

Many people don't realise that in order to get actual protection from sunscreen,

you need to put it on properly.

We recommend if you put it on your face and arms,

you probably need about two teaspoons of sun cream.

On your legs and the rest of your body, you probably need about two tablespoons.

Put it on before you go out in the sun. When you actually put it on,

don't rub it in too hard. It needs to form a barrier on your skin,

so pat it in, smooth it in.

It's important to reapply sunscreen during the day if you've been sweating,

if you've rubbed it off or been swimming at the pool or the beach.

Remember to put another layer on every few hours.

People forget places when they put on sun cream.

Places like the tops of your ears, back of the neck.

And if you're going a bit thin on top, people forget to put it on their scalp,

so be careful with those areas.

Make sure you're wearing cover-up clothing and put on your sunscreen.

Sunscreens can expire. The chemicals can go off

and they won't give as much protection as you think,

and you may get burnt even when you think you're protected.

It's a good idea to buy new sunscreen every year. Use enough and use it up.

Young skin is particularly sensitive

and children get sunburnt very easily.

It's really important to take care of kids in the sun.

Make sure they cover up, get in the shade,

and that they're wearing high-factor sunscreen.

Put it on regularly and often,

especially if they're splashing about in the pool or at the beach.

If you're someone who burns very easily,

you should not rely on sunscreen to protect yourself.

Think about covering up, seeking shade when it's really hot.

Sunscreen is your last line of defence.

It's important to enjoy the sun safely.

Be sun-smart. Cover up, seek out shade,

use sunscreen and avoid sunburn.


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