Ditch the old sun creams! Over one million Brits use sunblock over a DECADE old – putting them at increased risk of sun damage, study warns
- An estimated 1.4 million adults are still using sun creams at least ten years old
- Creams will only remain effective for between six months and two years
- The study found that 17 per cent feel pressure from celebrities to be tanned
- One in 20 believe they don’t need to wear sun protection at all
As we head into a sunny bank holiday weekend, be sure to check the expiry date of your sun cream.
Over one million Brits are slathering on sunblock from a bottle over a decade old – despite the fact that most only remain effective for between six months and two years.
A study, conducted by King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, found that sunbathers have a rather cavalier attitude towards sun protection in general.
In a survey of over 2,000 adults, nine per cent admitted to only wearing sun cream when on holiday abroad, while five per cent wrongly believe they don’t need to wear sun protection at all.
Over a million Brits are using sun cream over a ten years old, a study has found. Most creams will only remain effective up to between six months and two years old (stock image)
SUN SAFETY TIPS FOR THE BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND
- Use in-date SPF – Check the expiry date on the packaging, or throw out last year’s bottles and replace with new ones
- Cover your whole body – Use sun cream all over your body including eyelids, scalps and feet, and cover up with light clothing, hats and sunglasses to boost your protection when out and about
- Don’t underestimate the British sun – Using sun protection shouldn’t just be reserved for holidays and trips abroad; try to use SPF every day, particularly on your neck and face, and even in overcast weather
- If you do get burnt, cool down your body with a cold compress – A cool shower and/or a wet towel placed on the affected area will pull heat away from the site of the burn and help ease inflammation. Once cooled, you can add a moisturiser, such as Aloe Vera, to soothe the skin
Dr Catherine Borysiewicz, a dermatology consultant, said: ‘Sun protection is vital, whether you’re in the UK or abroad, and irrespective of your skin colour.
‘Sun creams and sprays provide the necessary protection from skin damage to potentially long-term or even fatal conditions.
‘It is also important to purchase new sun protection each year, as creams do expire and will become less effective.’
The quest to look social media perfect is a worrying factor, as 17 per cent of study participants admitted to feeling pressure from influencers and celebrities to be tanned.
Nearly a quarter also agreed they don’t feel good without a sun tan.
The search for sun-kissed skin is causing Brits to take dangerous risks, with 29 per cent admitting to using a sun bed in the past.
One in ten had tried potentially dangerous tanning products, such as Melanotan-2, to darken their skin, using it either as an injection or nasal spray.
These products work by replicating the alpha-melanocyte-stimulating hormone in your body, and stimulating the production of the pigment melanin in your skin cells.
They have been linked to dangerous conditions like renal failure and melanoma.
Sadly, 11 per cent of respondents agreed they would be willing to risk skin cancer if it meant having a tan.
‘It’s extremely concerning to see the lengths people are going to just to achieve a sun tan,’ added Dr Borysiewicz.
Dr Catherine Borysiewicz (pictured) said that ‘it is also important to purchase new sun protection each year, as creams do expire and will become less effective’
‘Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer but many patients could have prevented their diagnosis by taking greater care of their skin.
‘The rise in popularity of tanning products, like Melanotan-2 that can be taken as nasal spray or injection is very worrying.
‘These products are potentially very dangerous and have been linked to cancer.
‘Really, the only safe way to achieve an all over, year-round tan, without the health risks is using fake tan.’
How much sunscreen do you need?
As a general rule, the British Association of Dermatologists says you need at least six teaspoons of suncream to cover the body.
Justine Hextall, a consultant dermatologist at University Hospitals Sussex NHS Trust, recommends . . .
For your face
Whether a standard suncream or a facial moisturiser with SPF, you need:
Forehead: 1 x 10p-sized blob.
Nose: 1 x 5p-sized blob.
Rest of your face and neck (front and back): At least a 10p blob for each side — and don’t forget your ears (the tops, the lobes and also inside the rim of the ear).
Hairline & scalp: If you’re not going to wear a hat, use a 5p blob. If you’re losing your hair, use a 50p blob.
For your body
Back: 2 x 50p-sized blobs.
Shoulders: 2 x 10p-sized blobs.
Chest: 1 x 50p-sized blob.
Arms & legs: 1 x 10p-sized blob on each upper and lower arm, the same for each leg (don’t forget feet) — i.e. eight 10p blobs in total.
Stomach: 1 x 10p blob.