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UK confused about sun care / skin cancer link


With another dismal British summer gasping its last breaths, suntan lotion is not on top of the nation’s shopping list. But with new research suggesting we are still largely clueless about skin cancer – maybe it should be.

The results of a research project, commissioned by Tesco and released this week, reveal that as many as one in five Brits (23 percent) are not even aware of what UVA and UVB rays are at all. The skin cancer and premature ageing the sun can cause remains a mystery to many people.

Skin cancer is now the most common cancer in the UK, according to Cancer Research UK, and inadequate sun care is considered a prime cause.

40 percent of those asked to correctly identify what UVA and UVB sun rays are could not do so - and 13 percent believed that only UVA rays are harmful.

In reality, UVB rays cause immediate sunburn damage whereas UVA rays cause long term damage (such as premature ageing). Both can cause cancer.

Weather-beaten Brits are not safe from the sun, despite not having enjoyed much of it this summer. Harmful UVA and UVB rays are always present come rain or shine.

Over half of those questioned (52 percent), did not know what the acronym SPF (sun protection factor) stood for. The survey also found that as many as one in six people never buy sun cream, with the worst culprits from Northern Ireland (37 percent), followed by those in the South West (21 percent).

“It’s clear from this research that consumers are still confused. UVA and UVB rays both cause damage, even when the sun is not shining, which is why consumers should seek broad spectrum sun protection that offers both UVA defence and SPF protection against UVB rays,” said Tesco spokesperson, Duncan Graham.

For more information about Tesco, go to or contact Clare English at BMA Communications for further details about the recent research into Sun Protection and UK consumers.


 skin cancer
 skin care
 sun care products
 UV rays

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