We are more likely to get sunburnt in Ireland than on holidays abroad – and here's why
Our lax attitude to sun safety is a major health concern according to experts.
With another summer of staycations upon us, and more and more of us choosing to spend time in our gardens, exercising outdoors and meeting friends in local parks, staying sun-safe in this new world is as important as ever.
Worryingly, recent research from La Roche-Posay has highlighted that despite the recommendation, our attitudes to sun safety in Ireland are far from where they need to be. In fact, the study showed that Irish adults are far more likely to get sunburnt here in Ireland than when on holidays abroad.
In fact, almost eight in 10 adults claim they always/mostly use sun protection on a typical sunny summer’s day abroad, but this drops to just over half of adults that adopt the same approach and always/mostly use sun protection on a typical sunny summer’s day in Ireland.
Worryingly, almost 1 in 5 believe the sun in Ireland is not strong enough to pose a real health risk.
However, the UV index in Ireland – which provides a daily forecast of the expected intensity of UV radiation from the sun –was, on Thursday 3rd June 2021 a 7 – and hence classified as ‘High."
Experts with La Roche-Posay claim this relaxed approach to sun protection is causing serious damage, and those most at risk at the 18-24-year-olds.
“As a nation, our attitude to sun care is worrying, with so few complying to health guidelines around SPF, particularly evident with statistics showing over 30% of people suffered sunburn in Ireland over the last year," says Professor. Niki Ralph, Consultant Dermatologist.
"With over 13,000 cases diagnosed in Ireland each year, skin cancer is Ireland's most common cancer. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms of cancer. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.
"I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a broad-spectrum, high factor SPF daily. We must practice safe sun at home in Ireland, just as we would if we were holidaying abroad. Look for both UVA and UVB protection indicators on labels and opt for SPF 50+, such as La Roche-Posay’s Anthelios range.”
GP Dr Laura Lenihan says:
“Just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean it’s safe. Up to 80% of the sun's harmful rays can get through cloud cover, so even on an Irish staycation this summer it’s important to look out and be sun aware.
Educate yourself on the risks. Much like you check the weather, you can check the UV index daily as well - just because it's not heating up, does not mean the sun is not doing damage, especially here in Ireland. The higher the UV index, the more dangerous the sun's rays are.”