Most people think about sunburn as something that happens on holiday, or in hot sunny places, but sunburn can happen just as easily in the UK, especially between May and September. Don’t get caught out many cases of sunburn happen when people are not deliberately ‘sunbathing’ – you’re working outdoors, outdoors watching or playing sport, doing the gardening, or just sitting in the park. 

What is sunburn?

If your skin has gone red in the sun, it’s sunburnt. Sunburn is a clear sign that UV (ultraviolet) radiation from the sun has damaged your skin. Any sunburn, at any age, increases the risk of skin cancer and a study by the British Dermatology Society in 2015 revealed that 72% of UK adults had a sunburn within the last year.

Working outdoors

If you work outdoors, your skin is regularly exposed to the damaging effects of the sun over a long period of time, so it’s important to take steps to protect yourself:

  • Seek shade – especially during your breaks
  • Cover up – face, neck, eyes, head, chest and arms
  • Use a sunscreen

If you work indoors then you still need to think about sun protection during your lunch break and after work over the summer months.

Top tips to protect yourself in the sun – at home and abroad

Seek shade

Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm where possible and spend your breaks in the shade if you work outdoors! Cloud and ground conditions will also have an impact:

  • Heavy cloud cover does offer protection but you will still burn on a day when there is thin or
  • scattered clouds
  • Reflection – up to 85% of UV rays can be reflected back from snow, sand, cement and water

Cover up

When there’s no shade around the best way to protect your skin is to cover up with loose clothing; a wide-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck, ears and head; and good quality sunglasses (wraparound styles are best for full protection) to protect your eyes.

Use a sunscreen

Apply at least SPF 15 sunscreen before you go outside and then re-apply regularly and generously. The ideal is to:

  • Apply 15-30 minutes before going out in the sun and reapply ASAP after going out!
  • Reapply every 2 hours, or sooner (if you can avoid sunscreens offering all day protection with one application)
  • Use generous amounts of sunscreen at every application
  • Always apply to clean dry skin

If you are working outside and doing strenuous activity use a sunscreen for sports, or with a low oil content.

Sun Smart Messages

Spend time in the shade between 11am and 3pm

Make sure you never burn

Aim to cover up with a shirt, hat and sunglasses

Remember to take extra care with children

Then use factor 15+ sunscreen

Providing Occupational Health & Health Surveillance to Cardiff , Swansea , Newport , Bridgend , Port Talbot , Neath , Pontypridd , Llantwit Major , Llanelli , Bristol & Many More Surrounding Areas