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UK rays responsible for more than a third of most recent sunburn cases

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by Cancer Research UK | News

2 September 2013

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As temperatures soar this week, new figures from Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN show that 37 per cent of people admit the last time they were sunburnt was in the UK.

While 11 per cent confessed to getting caught out while relaxing in a UK garden or park, 10 per cent got sunburnt taking part in outdoor activities and five per cent while relaxing on the beach.

The YouGov survey, which asked more than 4,100 UK adults about their sun habits, was commissioned by Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN as part of their campaign encouraging people to enjoy the sun safely.

It also showed that when in strong sun in the UK, just 16 per cent of adults always regularly reapply sunscreen during the day, and only 20 per cent say they always cover up with items such as clothes, a hat or sunglasses.

With the hot weather – and strong sun – due to stay  for the next few days, Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN are reminding the nation that too much sun can damage your skin, whether you’re at home or abroad. So it’s important to take steps to enjoy the sun safely.

Yinka Ebo, Cancer Research UK senior health information officer, said: “Now the sun has finally made an appearance, we know it’s tempting to go out and make the most of the hot weather. But, as our survey shows, it’s easy to get sunburnt in the UK even if you’re not actively sunbathing – so remember to look after your skin and enjoy the sun safely.  We all need some sun to make vitamin D for healthy bones, but overexposure to the sun’s rays can cause sunburn, which is a sign that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged.  Not only can this cause premature ageing and wrinkles, but it also increases the risk of skin cancer.  

“That’s why we’ve teamed up with NIVEA SUN to encourage people to enjoy the sun safely this summer.  Whether you’re home or abroad, when the sun is strong, spend time in the shade, pop on a t-shirt and hat, and use at least SPF 15 sunscreen to protect yourself and your family.”

Cancer Research UK and NIVEA SUN are working together again this year to encourage people to enjoy the sun safely with three top tips:

  • Spend time in the shade if your shadow is shorter than you.  If your shadow is shorter than you are, then the sun is strong.  During the UK summer, the sun is at its strongest between 11am and 3pm
  • Wear a hat, t-shirt and sunglasses when the sun is strong. Wide brimmed hats or foreign legion style caps are best
  • Cancer Research UK recommends you use at least factor 15 sunscreen with a good star rating when the sun is strong.  Apply sunscreen generously and reapply regularly to make sure you get the level of protection on the bottle.

The partnership launched in July 2012, and aims to raise millions of pounds for Cancer Research UK’s vital skin cancer research over three years.

As well as fundraising for the charity, NIVEA SUN will be working with Cancer Research UK to promote key sun safety messaging through an advertising campaign which will highlight simple tips that people can follow to enjoy the sun safely.

For more sun safety information from Cancer Research UK visit


For media enquiries contact the Cancer Research UK press office on 020 3469 8315 or, out-of-hours, the duty press officer on 07050 264 059.