HSE National Cancer Control Programme and Healthy Ireland urge people to be SunSmart and protect your skin when outdoors - Protect your skin as mini spring scorcher expected this weekend -

HSE National Cancer Control Programme and Healthy Ireland urge people to be SunSmart and protect your skin when outdoors

 - Protect your skin as mini spring scorcher expected this weekend -

Today, (Friday, 25 March 2022) the HSE’s National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP) and Healthy Ireland are reminding people to be prepared and protect themselves from the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays as temperatures look set to rise this weekend.

If you are spending time outdoors this weekend, if your children are taking part in sport, or if you are going out for Mother’s Day, don’t forget to be prepared and be SunSmart.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Ireland, with almost 13,000 cases annually. The number of people being diagnosed with skin cancer in Ireland is rising rapidly. It is generally classified into two groups: melanoma, which is the more aggressive form, and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Between 2020 and 2045, it is predicted that the number of cases of melanoma per year among males and females will increase by 67% and NMSC will increase by 110%.

UV radiation from the sun causes the DNA damage in our skin which can lead to skin cancer. UV is usually strongest between 11am and 3pm from April to September in Ireland, even when it’s cloudy.

Follow the SunSmart 5S’s of Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide, to make sure you are prepared and protected:

  • Slip on clothing: Cover skin as much as possible, wear long sleeves, collared t-shirts, clothes made from close-woven material that does not allow sunlight through.
  • Slop on broad-spectrum (UVA/UVB) sunscreen: Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ for adults and 50+ for children, with high UVA protection and water-resistant. Reapply regularly. No sunscreen can provide 100% protection, it should be used alongside other protective measures such as clothing and shade
  • Slap on a wide-brimmed hat: Protect your face, ears and neck.
  • Seek shade: Sit in the cover of trees to avoid direct sunlight. Use a sunshade on your buggy or pram. Keep babies and children out of direct sunlight.
  • Slide on sunglasses: Guard your eyes against harm by wearing sunglasses with UV protection.

And remember, do not deliberately try to get a suntan. Avoid getting a sunburn. Never use a sunbed.

Dr Katharine Harkin, Specialist in Public Health Medicine, HSE NCCP says, “With fine weather forecast for this weekend, people will have more opportunity to enjoy getting outside. Even at this time of year, UV radiation from the sun is already strong enough to damage our skin.  We want to remind everyone to enjoy the sun safely by following the SunSmart 5S’s, to protect their skin and reduce their risk of skin cancer”.

For more information please see the SunSmart hub at www.hse.ie/SunSmart and check out #SunSmart on social media.

Last updated on: 25 / 03 / 2022