Truths & myths
TRUTHS about the sun and skin cancer
  • TRUTH Most skin cancers are the result of too much time in the sun particularly during childhood BUT can be prevented by protecting the skin from an early age.
  • TRUTH It can take just 10-12 minutes in the sun for UV radiation to begin to damage skin.
  • TRUTH One severe sunburn incident doubles a child’s risk of melanoma later in life.
  • TRUTH effective shade is the best way to reduce your risk of skin cancer.
  • TRUTH Personal protection strategies are also very important to protect against UV radiation.
  • TRUTH UV radiation cannot be seen or felt – it is not related to temperature.

MYTHS about the sun and skin cancer
  • MYTH ‘A tan provides good protection against the sun’
    Tanned skin is just damaged skin and offers almost no protection against UV radiation. Naturally dark skin provides some protection because it takes longer to burn than fair skin.
  • MYTH ‘It’s OK to be in the sun when it’s not hot’
    We do not feel UV radiation – when we feel hot, it is from infra-red radiation, not UV radiation. In most locations, UV
    radiation levels are still high in spring and autumn even though temperatures can be low. UV radiation is generally lower during winter, but reflection from the snow can double your exposure, especially at high altitudes.
  • MYTH ‘Taking regular breaks while sunbathing will prevent sunburn’
    UV radiation exposure is cumulative. Total exposure will build up over the day no matter how many breaks you take.
  • MYTH ‘You can’t get sunburnt on a cloudy day’
    Up to 80% of solar UV radiation gets through light cloud cover. Haze in the atmosphere can even increase UV radiation exposure.
  • MYTH ‘We need plenty of sunlight for good health’
    In normal daily life, we get more exposure to sunlight (and UV radiation) than is healthy. In some circumstances, such as nursing homes, people require deliberate exposure to low levels of UV radiation to maintain Vitamin D levels but these are exceptions.