We all think we know what we should and shouldn’t be doing when we grab a few rays. But do we? Skin cancer is still on the rise, so it’s time to follow the rules and stay safe in the sun.

Do… lather on the protection

suncream

Reapply sunscreen every two hours. If you’re in the water, slap it on immediately after drying yourself, as towel drying removes even water-resistant products. Be sure to reapply if you’ve been sweating.

Use at least two tablespoons’ worth of sunscreen each time and apply that sun-protection factor (SPF) to all those places you don’t think are exposed to the sun too—like between your toes and behind your ears. UV rays bounce around, so every part of you needs protection.

Give up on that tan, once and for all. The UV rays that give you that golden glow are the same rays that are responsible for sun spots, wrinkles and, worst of all, skin cancer.

 

Don’t… confuse SPF with UVA protection

UVA protection

The SPF rating refers to the protection your sunscreen offers against UVB, whereas there’s a separate star rating (up to five stars) for protection against UVA rays, which also cause skin cancer.

Pick a potion with high ratings for both and never go below Factor 30.

Make sure you're not using an old bottle of sunscreen. The contents lose their strength over time. You should be using protection even if you're planning to retreat inside. UVA rays can penetrate through glass, so be especially careful on sunny car journeys. 

Sunscreen isn’t the only form of UV defence. SunPatch is a virtually invisible, flexible film that works like a shielding second skin, combining SPF factor 50+ and UVA protection.

This is a particularly savvy option for people with vulnerable areas of the skin, such as moles or scar tissue. It is also water-resistant, meaning you can spend your day splashing in the sea without worrying about topping-up your sun protection.

 

Ditch the bed

tanning bed

People who use tanning beds are 74 percent more likely to develop melanoma than those who don’t, according to a University of Minnesota study.

So don’t think it’s safer to get a summer glow that way. Opt for a spray tan every time.

 

Read more: How to stop getting sunburnt every year

Read more advice from Susannah Hickling

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