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27th March 2019

A Guide to Sun Protection with Skin Conditions

Skin type is one of the main factors that determine the risk of sunburn.1 From light skin (highest risk) to dark skin (lowest risk), there are six skin types that correlate with a person’s susceptibility to sunburn.1

Factors that pose higher risks for skin cancer include:

  • Personal or family history of skin cancer.2,3
  • Exposure to the sun through work or play.
  • A history of sunburns or sunbed use.2
  • Fair – or very fair – skin types, which burn easily.2,3
  • Blonde or red hair.2
  • Light-coloured eyes.2
  • A large number of moles.2
  • Patients with auto-immune diseases such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.
  • People using immuno-suppressive drugs.3
  • Those with conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis.
  • Patients undergoing, or recovering from, radiotherapy.4

For people in high-risk groups, spending time in the sun can be more of a pain than a pleasure. Certain people are more susceptible to developing problems such as sunburn, pigmentation, premature ageing, wrinkles and skin cancers. ² That’s why it’s particularly important they apply a sunscreen and use other sun protective measures.

Stay Shady

To ensure you limit your risk of damage, reduce your time spent in both direct and indirect sun light. Beware of reflections of sand, water and glass.

Cover Up

When out make sure you’re covered up to limit your sun exposure, you

Drink Plenty

Hydrate your skin from within by topping up


Apply every 2 hours, especially after swimming, exercising, sweating and toweling dry.


  1. Cancer Research UK. When do I need to protect myself? [Internet] [updated 2014 Feb]17; cited 2015 Apr 20]. Available from: http://sunsmart.
  2. Cancer Research UK. UV, the sun and skin cancer. [Internet] [updated 2014 Feb 17; cited 2015 Apr 20]. Available from: UV-the-sun-and-skin-cancer/
  3. Sunscreen and Sun Safety Fact sheet. © British Association of Dermatologists 2009.
  4. Cancer Research UK. Radiotherapy and your skin. [Internet] [updated2015 May 2; cited 2015 May]. Available from: http://www. radiotherapy/side-effects/general/radiotherapy-and-your-skin.

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