You might start seeing posts on social media telling you to Cover Up, Mate.

This is because skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancers, sunburn increases your risk of skin cancer later in life and you’re at greater risk from March to October when UV rates are higher.

If you’re anything like me, at some point you may have learnt the hard way that you can still get sunburnt on cool, cloudy days. Just because you can’t feel the ultraviolet (UV) rays doesn’t mean they’re not doing their best to give you the famous tomato-face look. [been there]

As you might expect, the more time you spend outdoors, the greater risk you’re at. If you work in farming or construction, you may just want to get on with the job but that conscientious attitude can come back to bite.

If you’re planning on going camping or to festivals over the summer, spare a bit of time to look after yourself, apply a generous factor sunscreen and take some shade.

The sad reality is that a tan is a sign of skin damage – not health. Being of the freckled, pasty variety, I’m actually a tad smug about this fact as I couldn’t get a tan if I tried. You’re at greater risk of sunburn and skin cancers if you have fair skin, moles, freckles, red or fair hair, or light-coloured eyes. [so tick, tick, tick for me]

Do remember that having a tan offers very little protection from the sun. If you notice any moles or freckles change size or shape, see your GP as soon as possible.

You owe it to yourself and your family to take the risk of skin cancer seriously. Official NHS advice on staying safe in the sun is:

  • spend time in the shade
  • make sure you never burn
  • cover up with suitable clothing and sunglasses
  • use at least factor 15 sunscreen and reapply every few hours.

Click here for more advice on sunscreen and sun safety.

Enjoy the bank holiday weekend [another one!] and make sure you #CoverUpMate.