Nearly 50% Of Brits Sunbathe During Lunch - But Here's Why It May Be Risky

Ashley Corbin-Teich via Getty Images

A new poll reveals that apparently, nearly 50% of us top up our tans during out lunchbreak.

Although this seems somewhat at odds with recent news that most of us are work-driven goblins who slog deep in our pits during lunch, never seeing the light of day, it is believable from the number of people seen stretched out on any scrap of green space available.

However, while a stealth sunbathe session may seem harmless, only half of those who spend their lunch time soaking up the sun said they had protected themselves with sun cream.

With melanoma - the most deadliest form of skin cancer - recently being revealed to be on the increase, it's not something we should take lightly.

Commenting on the poll, Mark Birch-Machin, professor of dermatology at Newcastle University, said: "As a dermatology scientist researching the harmful effects of sunlight on skin, I've long felt 'lunch break baking' needs addressing in order for people to enjoy the sun safely.

"It's a balance between the benefits of sunlight and the risks of excess exposure, both of which have been well documented. This balance becomes more challenging when people are going out in the sun unprotected at the peak of the day when the sun is at its strongest.

"So if you're planning on taking your lunch break outdoors at the peak of the day this summer, my advice is to find some shade and keep a broad spectrum sun cream and a wide brimmed hat in your desk, so that you go out in the fresh air and enjoy the sun safely."

The poll conducted by L'Oreal UK and Ireland of 1,000 people from across the UK found that one in 10 said they never wear sun cream when they sunbathe and 14% said they only protect themselves from the sun when they go abroad.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun stimulate the production of endorphins, "feel good" hormones that act on the same biological pathway as opioid drugs, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School in the US.

Their study suggested that the desire to bake for hours on a beach involves more than topping up a tan. It may appease our craving for a sunshine "fix", in much the same way as an addict satisfies a yearning for heroin or morphine.

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