Skincare in the sun after melanoma

After treatment for melanoma, your specialist doctor or nurse will give you information about protecting your skin from the sun. You can still enjoy sunshine or have holidays in sunny countries. But it is important to protect your skin to help reduce your risk of further melanomas.

Protecting your skin

There are a number of things you can do to protect your skin:

  • Stay out of the sun when it is strongest. This is usually between 11am and 3pm.
  • Wear clothing made of a close weave fabric. This will give you more protection against the sun.
  • Keep your arms and legs covered by wearing long-sleeved tops and trousers. Wear a wide-brimmed hat to protect your face, neck and ears.
  • Always wear sunglasses in the sun.
  • Use a high-factor sun cream of SPF 30 or above whenever you are exposed to the sun for a period of time. Follow the instructions on the bottle and re-apply it as recommended.
  • Choose a sun cream that protects against UVA (at least 4 stars) and UVB radiation (at least SPF 30).
  • Make sure you use enough sun cream. About 6 to 8 teaspoons is enough to cover most adults.
  • Do not use sun cream instead of covering up or staying in the shade. You might think that if you use sun cream, you can stay in the sun for longer. But the best protection is to cover up and to stay out of direct sunlight. There is no such thing as a safe suntan.
  • Never use a sunbed or sunlamp. If you prefer to look tanned, use fake tan.
  • If you use a sunbed for treatment of a skin condition, your dermatologist may advise you to stop using it.

If you are not often outdoors or in the sun, ask your specialist doctor or GP to check your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is important for general health and can become low in people who avoid the sun or are indoors most of the time. You may need to take vitamin D supplements if your levels are low.

Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum
Trusted Information Creator - Patient Information Forum

Our cancer information meets the PIF TICK quality mark.

This means it is easy to use, up-to-date and based on the latest evidence. Learn more about how we produce our information.