Help us improve our website - please fill out our short survey 

Sun Safe


Being Sun Safe - The Facts

1. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV is a type of radiation that is produced by the sun and some artificial sources, such as sunbeds. Both UVA and UVB penetrate the atmosphere and play a part in the damaging effects of over exposure from the sun’s rays long after the tan fades. UV rays can penetrate deep into the skins layers causing painful sunburn, dangerous sunstroke, eye damage and the risk of developing melanoma’s, the most serious form of skin cancer. By following a few simple steps you can enjoy the warmer weather and avoid the risk of sunburn, sunstroke, skin ageing and skin cancer.
2. Sunburn – ouch! Sunburn does not have to be raw, peeling or blistering skin. If your skin has gone red or pink in the sun or from using sunbeds it’s sunburnt and a sign that your skins cells have been harmed from over exposure to UV radiation. Over time too much exposure can lead to more serious problems such as skin cancer.
3. Sunscreen. If you are going outside always use lots of sunscreen and reapply often. Use a sunscreen with at least SPF15 (Sun Protection Factor) and a 4 star rating labelled on the bottle. SPF measures sunscreen protection from UVB rays, the kind that cause sunburn and contribute to skin cancer.

To achieve the Sun Protection Factor (SPF, which protects against the sun’s UV radiation) reflected on a bottle of sunscreen, you should use approximately two milligrams of sunscreen per square centimeter of skin basically this means applying the equivalent of two tablespoons of sunscreen to the exposed areas of the face and body. You should use about a 20 pence size dollop to the face alone. If you’re using a spray, apply until an even sheen appears on the skin. Sun cream has a shelf life of two to three years, as long as it's not stored at high temperatures or in direct sunlight.

Make sure you keep sun cream in a cool or shaded place at all times. Before using sun cream, check the bottle for an expiry date. You should never use sun cream after the use by date, because you won't be protected from the sun's harmful rays.

SPF does not measure how well a sunscreen will protect from UVA rays, which are also damaging and dangerous. If you have fair skin that burns easily, red hair, lots of moles or freckles, and a family history of skin cancer take extra care.  Never use sunscreen as an excuse to stay out longer than recommended, for example sunbathing all day. It is also important to avoid being out in the sun between 11am and 3pm as this is when the sun’s rays are strongest and more damaging to your skin.
Always reapply sunscreen after swimming or being in water.
4. Vitamin D is important and essential for strong bones and a healthy immune system. Some people believe that the best way to increase their vitamin D levels is to sit in the sun. However although a limited amount of vitamin D can be obtained from exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, the health risks of UV over exposure can outweigh the positive vitamin D benefits. The Skin Cancer Foundation suggests you get your recommended daily 600 IU (international units) of vitamin D a day from food sources like oily fish, fortified dairy products and cereals, and supplements.
5. Sunbeds and the law It’s against the law to allow people under the age of 18 to use sunbeds. The Sunbeds (Regulation) Act came into force in Scotland in 2009, England and Wales in 2011, and Northern Ireland in May 2012.
Other leading countries have imposed a ban on the use of Sun beds. Following research and a ten year campaign on skin cancer and the link to people using solariums, Australia made the use of commercial sunbeds illegal I many states.
Commercial solariums are banned in Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland. Western Australia has committed to a ban, although a date is yet to be announced. There are no commercial solariums operating in the Northern Territory.

5 Myths about the Sun and Safety!

1. Sunbeds are safer than sun tanning! This is not true! The main causes of skin cancer are over exposure to UV radiation. The amount of UVA given off by sunbeds can be 10 -15 times higher than the sun during the hottest part of the day (11am – 3pm). People who start using sunbeds before the age of 35 have a 75% higher risk of developing melanoma (the most serious form of skin cancer) than people who do not use them.
2. It’s about image! A common reason for many people saying they use sunbeds or sunbathe is to get a sexy looking tan that improves their looks and makes them look healthy. Your body won’t think so after intense damage to your delicate skin due to overexposure and not wearing enough sunscreen or the correct SPF. Healthy skin can only be achieved by protecting it from the sun’s harmful rays. As far as looks goes the tan fades but the sagging, sun damaged wrinkly skin wont… after periods of overexposure and sun bed use you’re more likely to look older than you actually are. Using false tan is a safer/healthier alternative to maintaining your looks.

3. I’ve forgot my shades, it doesn’t matter your eyes can’t burn! Don’t be fooled that sunglasses are just to look cool and stop the glare of the sun. It’s important to protect your eyes as they are up to ten times more sensitive to UV damage than our skin and yet many people don't protect themselves by wearing sunglasses. The level of UV protection provided by sunglasses can vary. Check that sunglasses meet the British Standard of EN ISO 12312-1:2013, even better when they help you look cool so vanity is a good thing where sunglasses are concerned.

4. Its cloudy outside, I won’t need sunscreen! It’s the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not heat that causes sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage and skin damage, which can ultimately lead to skin cancer. UV cannot be seen or felt. It is not like the sun’s light which we see, or the sun’s warmth (infrared radiation) which we feel. Because we can’t sense UV radiation, we won’t know it’s damaged our skin until it’s already too late.
5. Misunderstandings!
Its windburn! While wind can dry and irritate the skin, there is actually no such thing as windburn. The red, stinging and peeling people associate with the wind is actually a result of the sun’s UV rays.
I’m going skiing I don’t need sunscreen! Snow is also highly reflective. On a sunny day, clean fresh snow can reflect up to 90% of UV radiation. This means that you can be exposed to almost a double dose of UV directly from the sun and reflected off snow-covered surfaces. So be smart and use sunscreen on exposed skin and wear sunglasses and/or goggles and take a break and spend some time in the shade.

Ways to Help Yourself & Others

1. Apply Sunscreen! It’s simple really but applying plenty of sunscreen, with a minimum SPF15 factor and 4 stars highlighted on the bottle, can help save your skin from the damaging effects caused by the sun’s harmful rays. Sunscreen needs to be applied at least 30 minutes before you go out into the sun and reapplied often especially if you have been in water. See the facts section for more advice on sunscreen.
2. Stay cool! Nice sunny days not only encourage us to go outside more but it also means you need to keep hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids whilst avoiding alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.

Avoid the hottest part of the day, which is between 11am – 3pm by cooling off in the shade. It’s also a good idea to wear a hat to protect your head, wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and a t-shirt as clothing is one of the best barriers between your skin and the sun. Most fabrics will provide some protection from the sun’s rays, however a fabric rated above UPF15 provides good protection against UV radiation, but UPF50+ is more recommended.
3. Follow the weather forecast if you’re going outdoors. Whether you’re planning a BBQ, day out or you need to work outside its wise to always check the UV information. Most daily weather forecast will include the UV information for the day so you can prepare your sunscreen before you go out. You can also check the UV index forecast for different parts of the UK at the Met Office website by visiting
4. Consider false tan! Remember every time you use a sunbed or lay in the sun all day you are damaging your skin. Sunbeds certainly are not a safe alternative to sun tanning. We know the harmful effects of UV radiation damages your skin but false tan is easy to apply and will not age your skin making you look wrinkly and old before your time. False tan does not cause painful sunburn, sunstroke or cause melanoma’s leading to skin cancer. It can be cheap to purchase and can produce a tan much quicker than sitting under a sunbed whilst at the same time helping you get the tan you want for that specific occasion.
5.  Visit your doctor!
Report any unusual moles or skin changes to your doctor as soon as possible – this could be moles growing, getting darker even in just one part of the mole, scabbing or itching. Finding skin cancer early can save lives.

Who Else Can Help?

If you’re a young person and need help, information advice or support concerning sun safety awareness or related issues then help is available from:
Your local pharmacy or GP surgery
Knowsley NHS Walk-in Centres - Huyton, Kirkby & Halewood provide treatment for minor illnesses and injuries without an appointment. It’s a type of service that offers a convenient alternative to your GP. They are open 365 days per year. For more information and to find more details on centre opening times etc call:
Huyton on 0151 244 3150
Kirkby on  0151 244 3180
Halewood 0151 244 3532
About sunbeds and being SunSmart visit

For services relating to young people and advice contact: Knowsley Youth Mutual on 0151 443 5323

Worried about a friend?

We can help

speak to one of our team

We can help
  • Think Knowsley in partnership with...