How-to Guide: Being Sun Smart
Tuesday, June 09, 2020

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in Ireland. 9 out of every 10 cases are caused by UV rays from the sun or sunbeds.

Over exposure to UV rays, which leads to tanning, redness or burning of the skin, causes damage to skin cells. While much of this damage is repaired, some remains and can lead to skin cancer later in life.

Reduce your risk by following the 5 steps of the SunSmart Code.

The SunSmart Code

1. Seek Shade
Shade can provide 75% protection against UV rays. Please be aware that car windows do not provide UV protection and it is possible to burn through glass.

2. Slip on some Clothes
Clothing gives extremely effective protection from UV light. Some fabric is better than others at delivering protection, such as shirts (with collar and ¾ length sleeve) or trousers (similarly with ¾ length) made of cotton or linen.

3. Slap on a hat
A hat with a broad brim (6 inches) is preferable. Baseball hats are not suitable as they do not cover the ears and the back of the neck.

4. Wear Sunglasses
UV exposure may cause eye irritation and chronic exposure can cause cataracts and cancer of the eye. Both adults and children need to wear sunglasses with an EU rating.

5. Sunscreen
Sunscreen is an essential part of the SunSmart code. Look out for the following when purchasing and using sunscreen:

  • A ‘broad-spectrum’ sunscreen that protects against UVA and UVB (always check for the UVA logo on the bottle)
  • SPF 30 or 50
  • Check the products use-by date and store it below 30°C
  • Choose a water-resistant type if sweating or you intend to swim
  • If in doubt seek the advice of your StayWell Pharmacist who can recommended a sunscreen to suit your needs