Skin Cancer Awareness Month

May is Skin Cancer Awareness month and so this blog will cover different types of skin cancer, causes and what you can do to protect your skin.

There are three types of skin cancer. Non-melanoma skin cancers are basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, they are more common than melanoma. Melanoma is a more serious skin cancer as it can spread to other parts of the body.

In the UK, there are around 147,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer diagnosed each year, and around 16,700 cases for melanoma. Around 86% of skin cancer cases are preventable.


Skin cancer awareness and SPF by Lucy Bee

What are the causes of skin cancer?

Most cases of skin cancer are caused by exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays. UV ray exposure is either from the sun or from sunbeds/tanning booths.

Sun damage is shown by our skin through sunburns, reddening of the skin, peeling, and tanning. A tan from UV rays is a sign that our skin has been harmed.

When UV rays penetrate our skin, they damage the DNA in our skin cells, this damage is irreparable and builds up over time, even once the tan disappears, the damage is still there. This damage increases our risk of developing all types of skin cancer.

It has been found that those who use tanning booths/sunbeds have a higher risk of skin cancer.


What are the two types of UV rays?

There are UVA and UVB rays. UVB rays are the ones that cause sunburn, which we can see and feel. Whereas UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin, UVA rays are the ones which are responsible for sun damage, wrinkles, and premature ageing. It’s important to note that both UVA and UVB rays can cause skin cancer.


UVA and UVB SPF from Lucy Bee

Why use sunscreen?

Sunscreen is used to help prevent UV rays from penetrating the skin and damaging skin cells. By using a sunscreen, we can help to reduce the risk of the impact of both UVA and UVB rays. 

Fairer skin that is more prone to burning and freckles in the sun are at a higher risk for skin cancer, however anyone can still get skin cancer, so it’s important to protect your skin regardless.


Using the correct amount of SPF

It’s important to ensure that you use the correct amount of sunscreen. When they are tested a specific amount of the sunscreen is used, if you use less than this it means that you may not get sufficient protection from UV rays.

When applying sunscreen, it is important to apply the correct amount, and make sure that you cover areas which are frequently missed (neck, ears, feet and back). It is recommended that you apply 6-8 teaspoons of sunscreen to cover an adult body, over half a teaspoon for each arm and for your face and neck, over one teaspoon for each leg, front of body and back


Sunscreen for face from lucy bee

Importance of sunscreen

  • It is important to make sure that you use an SPF which is at least a 30 and has UVA protection either through the logo or star rating
  • Apply to clean and dry skin
  • Apply 20-30minutes before sun exposure
  • Reapply every 2 hours, especially after swimming, towelling dry or sweating a lot


Other ways to protect your skin

  • Wear protective clothing that covers you, including a hat and sunglasses
  • Stay in the shade and avoid the midday sun (from 11am-3pm)
  • Avoid tanning booths / sunbeds


Sun Block against UV Rays from lucy bee

Check your skin

It is important to check your skin regularly, if you are concerned about any moles which have changed in any way, please contact your GP or dermatologist.

What to look for:

  • A new mole (pigmented or non-pigmented)
  • Changes in colour or multicoloured
  • Changes in shape or size
  • Starts to itch, bleed or crusting
  • Has an irregular, scalloped or poorly defined border
  • Asymmetrical in shape


Watch Dr Sabrina Valentino and Lucy talking all things skincare. This includes:

  • the importance of SPF and the impact that UVA and UVB rays have on the skin
  • the role SPF plays in anti-ageing skincare
  • all about hormonal and menopausal skin
  • tips on caring for dermatitis and rosacea
  • the role social media has on skincare misinformation
  • what impact stress has on the skin


More blogs on UV Rays and Skin Health:

Shop our SPF 30 here

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.