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Care in the sun

Protect your skin

Exposing our skin to the elements can age and damage our skin.  The majority of people living in Belfast have type 1 – 3 skin which means we can burn easily and are more vulnerable to skin damage, ageing and skin cancer.

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Northern Ireland and even though we don't have sun on a regular basis it's important to protect our skin during the spring and summer months.

How to protect your skin

About 80 per cent of the average person's lifetime sun exposure is incidental which means it occurs during daily activities and not when lying on the beach.

From spring until autumn you should:

  • Protect your skin by covering up with suitable clothing and by wearing a hat. This will prevent general ageing and damage to the skin.
  • Wear sun cream on exposed parts of the body such as the arms and face to prevent long-term damage and reduce ageing of the skin.  
  • Buy moisturisers and makeup with included sun protection.
  • Wear sunglasses when the sun is out to protect the eyes and the delicate skin around the eyes.

What sunscreens to buy

The Sun Protection Factor (SPF) tells you the amount of protection the sunscreen gives against UVB radiation. National guidelines recommend you use at least factor 15, however higher factors are better. Choose a sunscreen that has good protection against UVA rays as well as a high SPF. This is because both UVB and UVA rays can cause skin cancer.

Leisure activities

Lots of us do different types of leisure activities outside such as running, paying sport, walking and gardening. Always protect your skin when taking part in outdoor activities and wear suitable clothing that covers areas of the body which are vulnerable to damage such as the shoulders. Wear a hat and put sun cream on exposed skin. 


Babies and young children have thinner, more delicate skin than adults therefore their risk of getting sunburnt is much higher. Skin damage in early years can lead to skin cancer in later life. Protect all children whether they tan easily or not. Children with fair or red hair, pale eyes or freckles are at most risk. Keep babies under 6 months out of direct sunlight, especially around midday.  Always put young children in suitable clothes which cover up the skin as well as using sun protection on exposed areas.

Outdoor workers

People whose jobs keep them outside for long periods of time will get more sun on their skin. It is most important that outdoor workers cover up and wear sunscreen even when the sun is not shining.  

For more information visit the Care in the sun website.

Contact us
Environmental health
028 9027 0428
Health and Safety
Cecil Ward Building
4-10 Linenhall Street