Well, I hosted my first every tweetchat this week with Macmillan, talking about sun safety, and it was a huge success. So many people posted pertinent questions about the sun, and we all learned a lot.
The hot weather looks set to continue, and so I thought I'd share with you some of the key lessons I learned. Having recently lost a friend to melanoma, I'm only too aware of the damage the sun can do.
1) If you want to know how long you can stay in the sun without sunscreen, the NHS LiveWell website has an excellent summary.
2) Suncream doesn't last for years and years, so my bottle collection probably needs to be thrown out. Always check the best before date on the bottle, and if in doubt, throw away after 1 year. You can keep it in the fridge and use it next year, as long as it's within the best before date.
3) If you want to get a tan whilst minimising damage to your skin, follow these CRUK guidelines - spend time in the shade between 11-3, cover up with a T-shirt, hat and sunglasses where possible, and use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 15 and 4 stars
4) Fake tan has NO protection from the sun. You still need to wear a minimum of SPF15 if you go out, otherwise you will burn. It's fine to use fake tan if you've had skin cancer in the past, but remember to use suncream too.
5) How much sunscreen do you need? Does it need to be rubbed in? Check here to find out if you've been doing it properly. At a minimum, apply 30 minutes before you go out, and then repay just before you go out. And reapply whenever you get out of the water (even if it's water-resistant), or if you've been sweating a lot.
6) Chemotherapy and radiotherapy can make your skin more resistant to sun damage. Some people are more sensitive than others, and the increased sensitivity can last for years. If in doubt, use a high SPF and cover-up areas prone to burning. The Macmillan guidelines are here.
7) You should keep a close eye on your moles. If you want to know whether they might be at risk of cancer, follow the ABCDE guidelines - Asymmetry, Border, Colour, Diammeter, Evolving, If you want to find out more about skin cancer, the Macmillan guidelines are here