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Are You Sun Smart?

Save your skin (unless you want to be a wrinkly)

Parents in Cornwall are being warned that simply 'covering up' their children may not be enough to protect them from getting a high dose of UV radiation which could lead to skin cancer.

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Trading Standards officers across the South West have tested various items including:

  • t-shirts
  • blouses
  • polo shirts
  • sarongs
  • sunhats
  • pram/pushchair parasols

People might reasonably expect these to provide protection against the sun's harmful rays.  It is clear from the results that such items and cover ups provide very little protection.

Sun protection during early childhood and teenage years reduces the risk of sun damage and skin cancer in later life.   

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the UK. Non-melanoma skin cancer is not usually fatal but requires surgery. There are about 100,000 cases of non-melanoma each year. But melanoma kills some 2000 people a year. This figure is rapidly increasing and the south west is the worst affected region in England. An alarming aspect of Ultra Violet radiation from the sun is that it is the total dosage which is important. Over time the dosage builds up inside you. Once it reaches the particular level that your body can take, you are at risk of skin cancer.

Experts suggest that people get about 80% of their dosage before they are 18. It is vital for parents and carers to make sure they take every precaution. By using ineffective items for their children they may still get burnt. Burnt skin is damaged skin!

There's no fun burning in the sun so stay sun smart:

S - Stay in the shade between 11 and 3
M - Make sure you never burn
A - Always cover up
R - Remember to take extra care with children
T - Then use factor 15+ sunscreen

For further advice about how to protect yourself and your family please refer to one of our easy to read leaflets:

These leaflets have been produced by SWERCOTS, the Trading Standards Partnership in south west England.