We all know how important it is to slather on the sunscreen in hot weather, but what factor suncream should you be wearing on your face to stay safe and prevent skin cancer?

We quizzed Dr Tim Woodman, medical director at Bupa UK to find out more.


How much suncream should you wear on your face, on a hot weather holiday?

“If you’re heading somewhere where you’ll be exposed to the sun it’s even more important to protect your skin. How easily people burn varies. For example, people with light skin, fair or red hair and freckles, often burn very easily in the sun. Others with naturally darker skin are unlikely to burn as easily but you should still wear SPF protection.


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“In most cases, a SPF of at least 30 should be sufficient to cover most skin types in most sun conditions, however SPF50+ sunscreen may be more appropriate if you burn easily.”

How often should you apply suncream?

“It really depends what you’re doing, for example if you’re in and out of water or sweating. You should reapply your sunscreen every few hours if you’re outside, as the protective effect tends to wear off through sweating or swimming. In principle, the stronger the SPF, the longer you can avoid burning for.

“SPF 30 will allow you to stay in the sun for 30 times longer than it would usually take you to burn – without any skin protection. But you should still re-apply your sunscreen every few hours, no matter what the SPF is, as whilst it is important to avoid sun burn, UV can also harm the skin without causing burning.”

What factor suncream should I wear?

“Everyone’s skin is different but I would always recommend SPF 15 or higher. Use it generously and re-apply every few hours, or more often if you go swimming, or sweat a lot.  Water will reflect the sun’s rays so apply it before swimming. Remember that clouds don’t stop the sun’s UV rays getting through so you should protect yourself even if it’s not the brightest day.”

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Should I be wearing sunscreen on my face on a daily basis?

“The weather can be deceiving, but even on a cloudy day UV light can still penetrate the skin. On average, UV levels rise during spring and peak around July and August throughout the UK. If you live in South of England you will experience higher UV levels compared to Scotland.

“Everyone should apply sunscreen to be on the safe side, even on a cloudy day, if they’ll be outside during the day. Try using a moisturiser or make-up that contains SPF. However, if you’ll be indoors for most of your day, you probably don’t need to worry about wearing sunscreen.”

Read more 5 surprising skin cancer facts everybody should know



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