British Skin Foundation - Sun Awareness & Skin Cancer

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Do I need to use suncream more often?

Postby gardener on Thu May 11, 2017 12:51 pm

I spend a lot of my time outside doing gardening work, as this is my job. I tend to not put suncream on unless it's really sunny. Do I need to protect my skin (and face) more than this?

Also when I do use it because it's generally hotter and I'm being physical I sweat a lot - does this mean that the cream is not as effective?
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Re: Do I need to use suncream more often?

Postby Dr Ed Seaton on Thu May 11, 2017 1:12 pm


Thank you very much for that question. Your job sounds lovely. I would definitely recommend that you use suncream when you are working in the garden. Long-term regular sun exposure like this does tend to significantly increase the risk of sun damaged skin and skin cancer particularly basal cell carcinoma which is incredibly common and may occur in up to one in five people. People with outdoor occupations such as gardeners are significantly more likely to develop such problems.

An easy solution would be daily use of a high-factor, broad-spectrum suncream with an SPF of at least 30. When you are applying this to the face remember to put it in the nooks and crannies such as the lips, the corners of the nose the tops and insides of the ears, the back of the neck and behind the ears. I would recommend that you do this even on a cloudy day because clouds only block about one quarter of ultraviolet light which is the cancer-causing part of sunlight. I would suggest that you apply suncream from April to October.

With regards to your question about sweating, most reasonable quality sun creams should not be particularly affected by this especially if you apply than 20 to 30 minutes before you start work.

I hope this is helpful.

Best wishes

Dr Edward Seaton
Dr Ed Seaton
Consultant Dermatologist and British Skin Foundation spokesperson
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Dr Ed Seaton
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