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Young Brits ignoring sun safety advice

Many young Brits on holiday don't wear suncream because they want a 'status' tan, according to research released by Teenage Cancer Trust as part of its annual sun safety campaign, Shunburn.

The continuing lack of regard for sun safety in this age group is a particular concern given recent figures that show malignant melanoma is now the most common cancer in young women in the UK aged between 15 and 24.
Teenage Cancer Trust, a charity dedicated to helping young people across the UK fight cancer, questioned 16-24 year olds about their attitudes to sun safety when on beach holidays.  The results reveal not only a complacent attitude to sun protection, but also a worrying desire to get a tan no matter what the cost. Questions about suncream and sun safety advice when on holiday revealed:

  • 13% of young people aged 16-24 don't bother using any suncream on holiday.
  • A quarter (23%) forget to apply suncream on holiday.
  • A fifth (17%) of young Brits only apply suncream once every 6-8 hours when on holiday.
  • One in 10 (11%) believe covering up skin on the beach is really uncool, and a fifth (17%) never cover up with sarongs or long sleeved tops because they want maximum sun exposure.
  • Of those that stayed in the UK, a third (30%) don't bother with suncream in the UK at all.

Questions on attitudes to holiday sun tans revealed:

  • 12% of 16-24 years olds believe a tan proves you go on holiday to nice places.
  • Nearly half (40%) would be disappointed if they returned from holiday without a sun tan.
  • Almost half (49%) of 16-24 year olds think people look healthier with a sun tan.

Simon Davies, Chief Executive of Teenage Cancer Trust said, "It is the sun damage done to your skin when young that could lead to skin cancer in later life. We know that holidays should be all about having fun and relaxing but it is vitally important to not let your skin burn in the sun. It takes just a few moments to apply suncream or wear some form of a cover up.  Those few moments could save someone the heartache of a skin cancer diagnosis."
Teenage Cancer Trust