Preventing further skin cancers

Protecting yourself from the sun is even more important after you have had treatment for skin cancer.

Here are some suggestions on how you can protect your skin in the sun and prevent skin cancer:

  • The best protection is to cover up. Wear clothing made of cotton or natural fibres that have a close weave. These 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 and neck.
  • Use sun cream with a high sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30. Choose one that protects against UVA and UVB, with four or five stars. Follow the instructions on the bottle and re-apply as recommended, particularly after swimming. Remember to apply sun cream on and behind your ears.
  • Many people do not use enough sun cream. Experts say an average-sized adult needs at least 6 to 8 teaspoons of lotion to give the SPF coverage it says on the bottle.
  • Always wear sunglasses in strong sunlight.
  • Do not let your skin go red or burn.
  • Stay out of the sun during the hottest part of the day. This is usually between 11am and 3pm.
  • Do not use a sunbed or sunlamp. If it is important for you to look tanned, use fake tan lotions or sprays.
  • Check your skin regularly for any changes.

Protecting yourself from the sun is important. But regular exposure to a small amount of sunshine helps our bodies make vitamin D. Remember not to let you skin go red or burn.

Vitamin D is important for general health. It keeps our bones, teeth, muscles and immune system healthy. If you are not exposed to the sun often, you may want to ask your dermatologist or GP to check your vitamin D levels. It can get very low in people who avoid the sun completely. Your GP may prescribe some vitamin D supplements if you have low vitamin D levels.