It turns out that, as a nation, we’re not all that informed on sun protection. Over recent months, we’ve learned that some people are pouring beer on themselves to get a tan, falsely believe that sunbeds can provide a base tan before holidays, and now new data indicates that we still have a long way to go when it comes to understanding the risks of sun damage and who is likely to get skin cancer as a result of it.
In fact, new data by NIVEA SUN and Cancer Research UK (CRUK) reveals that 69% of Black British people do not use sunscreen and during the summer months, 63% do not use SPF on their face and body.
This is due to a misconception that people with darker skin tones aren’t affected by the sun. This harmful misconception has actually led to people not getting diagnosed with skin cancer soon enough and Black men are more likely to die from skin cancer because they’re getting diagnosed later than other patients.
Black people can get sunburned, too
Influencer Demi Colleen has been working to tackle the myth that Black people can’t burn by using her Instagram platform to inform people on not only the importance of everybody using sun protection, regardless of their skin tone, but also reviews the best sun protection products for the face and body.
The mixed-race Londoner told MyLondon that she had always believed in this myth until she got burned on holiday saying:
“It wasn’t until I went on holiday one year and I burnt really badly that I found out the hard way that I needed protection. It was both painful and humbling. It was like everything I believed about myself was a lie. I was incredibly miserable for a good week.”
This correlates with the new data from NIVEA SUN and CRUK which also found that 63% of Black British people do not use SPF on their face and body during the summer months (and 56% of Black British Caribbeans do not use SPF on their face during summer months.
Demi’s advice is:
“The main advice I give my audience is to wear SPF daily, even when it’s cloudy, reapply it throughout the day and that they don’t need to settle for one that doesn’t work for them, we’ll find a solution together!”.
How to protect your skin from sun damage
Beth Vincent, Health Information Manager at Cancer Research UK warns:
“Skin damage is caused by UV rays from the sun. The sun can be strong enough to cause sunburn from mid-March to mid-October in the UK. In the summer months, the warmer weather means people are more likely to be outside, therefore exposing themselves to more UV rays and putting themselves at a higher risk of sunburn and skin damage.
Getting sunburned increases the risk of melanoma skin cancer. So it’s really important to be safe in the sun.”
To best protect ourselves from too much sun, NIVEA SUN and Cancer Research UK recommends the following:
- Seek Shade - Especially between 11am and 3pm in the UK. Take a break under trees, umbrellas, and canopies, or go indoors.
- Cover Up – With clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and UV protection sunglasses. Clothing should cover your shoulders. The more skin that’s covered by your clothing, the better the protection.
- Apply Sunscreen – With at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars. Make sure to reapply it regularly and generously, especially after swimming, sweating, or towelling.