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Sun safety: How to apply sunscreen and check moles

Sun Safety and Checking Your Moles

Over the last decade, melanoma skin cancer mortality rates have increased by 7% in the UK, and in Ireland skin cancer is the most common cancer in the country, however 86% of these cases are preventable. This is why practicing sun safety is so important. Understanding how to protect your skin on a daily basis and knowing how to check your skin for changes that could be skin cancer can help reduce your risk.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about sun safety – from checking your moles, to the difference between UVA and UVB rays, and preventing sun damage with broad-spectrum sunscreen.

How to protect your skin from the sun

The sun omits two types of UV radiation that you need to be aware of throughout the year. UVA is associated with premature skin ageing, wrinkles, and pigmentation as well as skin cancer. It also poses a risk to our skin every single day, as it can penetrate through cloud even in winter.

UVB rays are stronger in the summer months when the sun is at its strongest and are responsible for burning and tanning the skin. It’s also the most likely to cause skin cancer. However, frequent exposure to both UVA and UVB rays can create changes at the heart of our skin cells and damage their DNA which can cause long-term skin damage and skin cancer.

As such, we recommend you follow sun safety precautions to help protect your skin and limit your risk. Here are our top tips:

How to apply sunscreen

Skin experts and dermatologists recommend applying around two teaspoons of broad-spectrum sunscreen to your face and any areas of exposed skin each morning.

You will need to apply more sun protection to larger areas of your body that are exposed to sunlight. At La Roche-Posay we recommend applying SPF 50+ to the face and body. Sunscreen should be applied generously 30 minutes before sun exposure and should be reapplied frequently and generously every two hours to maintain protection, or more if you go swimming, sweat profusely or towel-dry your skin.

Seek shade

But sun protection isn’t the only way you can protect your skin, and there are other steps you can take to prevent damage. On hot, sunny days try to seek shade as much as possible. Avoid direct sun exposure between 11am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest.

Cover up

Protect the skin with clothing, including a hat, long-sleeved top and sunglasses with UV protection. If wearing this type of clothing isn’t practical, at least try to wear a T-shirt or beach cover up.

Protect babies

Ensure they are wearing a hat, T-shirt and sunglasses. The NHS recommend keeping babies less than 6 months old out of direct sunlight at all times. While older babies (under 3) should be kept out of the sun as much as possible and in particular during the hottest time of the day, 11am-3pm. Anthelios offers high sun protection specially formulated for children, and safe to use on their fragile skin.

How to check your moles

If you have moles on your face or body, it’s important that you check them regularly (around once a month) and get to know how they look and feel. You can also ask a friend or relative to help you to check areas that you can’t see such as your back, neck and ears – or anywhere you can’t see yourself. You can also use a hand-held mirror if you don’t have anyone to help.

But what changes should you look out for? To help you remember, use the A, B, C, D, E method.

A: Asymmetry

Are the two halves of the area different in shape?

B: Borders

Are the edges of the area blurred, ragged or irregular?

C: Colour

Is the colour uneven? Has the colour changed to a shade of black or brown?

D: Diameter

What size is it? Is it changing or growing in size?

E: Evolution

Has the area changed or evolved in any way?

Don’t forget that if you notice any changes, make an appointment with your GP as soon as possible. Early detection of melanoma is extremely important.


La Roche-Posay has been an expert in sun protection for more than 25 years, working in collaboration with dermatologists worldwide. To date, the efficacy of Anthelios sun care has been proven in over 70 clinical studies. Anthelios constantly innovates to provide pioneering intelligent formulas that are suitable for daily use and all sensitive skin. The tailor-made ‘by skin type’ sunscreens are invisible, hypoallergenic and non-greasy, making them perfect for use every day. Anthelios also offers very high sun protection for children, which is dermatologically tested and is specially formulated for their fragile, sensitive skin.

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