With another summer of staycations upon us, and more and more of us choosing to  spend time in our gardens, exercising outdoors and meeting friends in local parks,  staying sun-safe in this new world is as important as ever. Recent research from La  Roche-Posay highlights that despite dermatologist & GP expert recommendation, our  attitudes to sun safety in Ireland are far from where they need to be. These experts  urge the need to practice safe sun behaviours at home in Ireland this summer, just as  we would if holidaying abroad. 

Recent research from La Roche-Posay shows our attitudes and behaviours  to sun safety when at home in Ireland are much poorer than when holidaying abroad: 

Almost 8 in 10 (79%) adults claim they always/mostly use sun protection on a typical  sunny summer’s day abroad, but this drops to just over half of adults (57%) that adopt  the same approach and always/mostly use sun protection on a typical sunny  summer’s day in Ireland. 

Whilst still a way to go, this is an improvement versus 2011 where 32% of adults never  wore sun protection in Ireland. Similarly, in 2013, 31% of people never wore sun  protection in Ireland, with 92% of people only using sun protection when abroad. 

Worryingly, almost 1 in 5 (17%) believe the sun in Ireland is not strong enough to pose  a real health risk. The UV index in Ireland on Thursday 3rd June 2021 was 7, classified  as ‘High’. (The Ultraviolet (UV) Index provides a daily forecast of the expected intensity  of UV radiation from the sun, on a 1-11+ scale.) 

This more relaxed approach to sun protection in Ireland, than while abroad, is causing  serious damage as research shows we are more likely to suffer sunburn in Ireland than  when holidaying abroad; 

While 3 in 10 (30%) adults have been sunburnt in Ireland five or more times in their  lifetime, just over 1 in 5 (21%) claim that they have been sunburnt when on a sun  holiday abroad the same number of times. 

32% of adults have been sunburnt in Ireland in the last year, with those aged 18-24  most likely to have been sunburnt in Ireland (73%) in the last year.

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Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager with the Irish Cancer Society, said; 

“We are delighted to continue to support La Roche-Posay’s Sun Safe campaign in an  effort to raise awareness of the importance of skin cancer prevention and early  detection. Recent figures showed that over 70% of Irish adults between 18-24 were  sunburned last year which increases their risk of developing skin cancer. Non 

melanoma skin cancer is still the most common cancer in Ireland and getting sun  burnt at a young age increases the risk of skin cancer in later life. There is still some  way to go in improving skin protection behaviour including applying SPF, so we are  pleased to support La Roche-Posay to encourage people to protect their skin and  reduce their risk of skin cancer.  

Professor. Niki Ralph, Consultant Dermatologist said; 

“As a nation, our attitude to sun care is worrying, with so few complying to health  guidelines around SPF, particularly evident with statistics showing over 30% of people  suffered sunburn in Ireland over the last year.  

With over 13,000 cases diagnosed in Ireland each year, skin cancer is Ireland’s most  common cancer. Fortunately, skin cancer is also one of the most preventable forms  of cancer. About 90 percent of non-melanoma skin cancers and 85 percent of  melanoma cases are associated with exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun.  

I cannot stress enough the importance of wearing a broad-spectrum, high factor SPF  daily. We must practice safe sun at home in Ireland, just as we would if we were  holidaying abroad. Parents should ensure children are protected daily with a broad spectrum sunscreen, to keep them safe from harmful UV rays. Look for both UVA and  UVB protection indicators on labels and opt for SPF 50+, such as La Roche-Posay’s  Anthelios range.” 

On a typical sunny summer’s day in Ireland, women are far more likely to use sun  protection (71%), with only 43% men opting for sun protection. Shockingly, 1 in 5 men (22%) claim that since they don’t usually burn, so they don’t see the need to use SPF  daily. 

GP Dr Laura Lenihan says; “Just because it’s cloudy doesn’t mean it’s safe. Up to 80%  of the sun’s harmful rays can get through cloud cover, so even on an Irish staycation  this summer it’s important to look out and be sun aware.  

Educate yourself on the risks. Much like you check the weather, you can check the  UV index daily as well – just because it’s not heating up, does not mean the sun is not  doing damage, especially here in Ireland. The higher the UV index, the more  dangerous the sun’s rays are.” 

People are still sceptical about how we can be exposed to UV rays. 1 in 5 adults do  not believe that UV rays from the sun can penetrate glass. 

GP Dr Laura Lenihan says; “UV rays from the sun come in two major forms – UVA and  UVB. UVB rays are the ones we tend to worry about most and are present during the 

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months of April to October (in Ireland), but UVA rays are present year-round, and both  types can cause skin cancer. UVA rays can pass through window glass, so people  should be particularly aware of this if driving regularly or taking a long-distance journey  for a staycation. And those working from home near windows.” 

Chaning attitudes and behaviours to sun safety over the years; 

In general, we are getting slightly better at wearing sun protection. In 2013, 76% of people claimed they NEVER wear sun protection all year round. In 2021, 68% of people  would not wear SPF daily. 

Almost two thirds (64%) of adults who are taking more precautions to protect their skin  now more than they were five years ago, claim that they now always wear a high  factor SPF when spending time in the sun, at home or abroad, and just over half (53%)  claiming that they now limit their skin’s exposure to the sun by seeking shade. 

We are also now more aware of the links between skin cancer and sun protection. In  2013, the most perceived negative effect of too much time in the sun was sunburn  (59%). In 2021, the most perceived negative effect of the sun was leading to skin  cancer (79%). 

Women claim they have become better at protecting their skin from the sun – 74%  claim they take more precautions than they did 5 years ago

Early detection of skin cancers – how regularly do people check their skin; The majority of people still do not actively check their skin for early signs of cancer. Only a quarter of adults (25%) claim that they examine their skin to see if they have  developed new moles / lumps / marks, or to see if existing moles have changed in  appearance once a week or more often, with almost half (47%) claiming that they  do so less than once a month or never at all.  

Almost half (45%) of those that do examine their skin claim that they have never had  moles or skin marks checked by a healthcare professional, such as a GP or  dermatologist. 

Despite greater access to information, attitudes to mole-checking have not changed  much over the past few years. Similar to 2021 results, in 2013 45% of people who  claimed they had moles never checked them themselves and 54% had never had  their moles checked by a professional. 

Consultant Dermatologist, Professor Niki Ralph said “Using self-surveillance by  performing skin checks at home to monitor for changes in naevi (moles) such as  change in shape, size and colour can result in early detection of a possible skin  cancer. I advise making an appointment with your GP or Dermatologist if you have  any concerns regarding a new or changing lesion.” 

Positive impacts of the sun; 

8 in 10 (84%) adults believe that getting vitamin D is a positive effect of spending time  in the sun, with 7 in 10 (72%) believing that spending time in the sun improves their 

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mood / makes them happy. Almost 6 in 10 (58%) adults believe that spending time in  the sun is good for their all-round well-being. 

The experts encourage us to enjoy the positive impacts of the good weather, but to  always do so safely. Consultant Dermatologist, Professor Niki Ralph said “There is little  evidence based on multiple recent studies that sunscreen decreases 25(OH)D VitD  concentration when used in real-life settings, suggesting that concerns about vitamin  D should not negate skin cancer prevention advice. Using SPF optimally every two  hours to prevent UV damage, allows adequate Vit D synthesis. Also having a varied  diet including Vit D rich foods (Salmon, Oily fish, Tuna, Eggs), supplements (if needed)  and incidental, protected sun exposure will give you the Vit D you require, without  subjecting yourself to the multiple risks of unprotected sun exposure.” 

GP Dr Laura Lenihan says: 

“When staycationing in Ireland this summer, whether it’s the Wild Atlantic way or the  Sunny southeast, remember that even on a cloudy day 80% of the sun’s UV rays get  through cloud cover. It’s important to stay sun safe just as it is abroad. And if taking  advantage of some of our glorious beaches, then don’t forget that sand and water  all reflect the sun’s rays and can wash off sunscreen. That’s why it’s best to use a water 

resistant formula.” 

La Roche-Posay and GP Dr Laura Lenihan are calling on the public to become safe sun aware whilst staying at home during this time, by following these key steps:  

  • Apply Sunscreen – Use sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher (SPF 50 for children) and  UVA/UVB protection on all exposed areas of the body. Apply 30 minutes before  going outside to your garden or approved exercise area. For those working  from home, be aware UVA rays can pass through clouds and glass. With this in  mind, if you have set up your home-office next a window, it is advisable that  you continue to wear your SPF even whilst indoors. 
  • Seek Shade – When UV rays are at their strongest – generally between 11am  and 3pm – and don’t forget to check the UV Index. Ireland’s UV index peaks  between May and Aug, which means that the rays from the sun are more  intense during this period, and our exposure and risks of burning when outside  are higher. 
  • Cover Up – By wearing a shirt with a collar and long shorts. Also wear a hat that  gives shade to your face, neck and ears. Wear wraparound sunglasses and  make sure they give full UV protection. 
  • How to protect babies – Ensure they are wearing a hat, loose fitting clothing, to  prevent overheating and sunglasses. It is recommended to keep babies less  than 6 months old out of direct sunlight at all times. While older babies/toddlers  (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. 


Over the past 15 years in Ireland, La Roche-Posay has worked to generate awareness  and provide much-needed education on skin cancer prevention and early  detection. Along with donating vital funds to research and development through  charity partners including Irish Cancer Society, this ongoing campaign has been 

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centred around medical advice & education, providing much-needed upskilling &  support to professionals and patients alike. In the past 10 years, the team at La Roche Posay have trained over 1,500 Irish pharmacy staff on early detection & prevention  tips, hosted over 600 medical awareness days and reached over 200,000 patients. 


La Roche-Posay has been reinventing 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, non-irritating and non greasy, making them perfect for use every day. Heroes from the range include; 


Invisible Fluid SPF50+: The best-selling ultra-light SPF which contains intelligent polymer  technology to ensure the lightest possible formula that still offers ultra-high UVA and  UVB protection with a minimalist hypoallergenic formula. RRP: €19.50 Anti-Shine Invisible Fresh Mist SPF50+: Anthelios’ first very high UVA and UVB protection  sunscreen with the light, fresh texture of a thermal spring water. The highly moisturising  spray is easy to apply, quickly absorbed and delivers a double anti-shine action with  an ultra-dry finish and no residual white marks. RRP: €14.50 


Invisible Spray SPF50+: The invisible mist is water resistant, easy-to-apply and has a  lightweight formulation. It’s non-greasy and ensures a very high, broad, and  photostable UVA/UVB protection with an optimal SPF of 50+. RRP: €22 Ultra-Light Mist SPF50+: Specially formulated for all types of sensitive skin. An ultra-high  protection, broad spectrum (PPD 30, SPF 50+) suncare spray that is fresh, light and  invisible on the skin. The veil-mist is easy to use and reapply on the go, even during  sport or on top of makeup. RRP: €22 

Eco Tube Hydrating Lotion SPF 30: Exceptionally high sun protection body lotion  specifically formulated for dry sensitive skin. This easy-to-apply, lightweight formulation  is non-greasy and ensures a very high, broad, and photostable UVA/UVB protection  and is water resistant. This body lotion is eco-packed in cardboard-based tubes,  developed to protect the skin, marine life and the environment, with 45% reduction in  plastic. RRP: €21.50 

Anthelios also offers exceptionally high sun protection for children, which is  dermatologically tested and is specially formulated for their fragile, sensitive skin.  Family favourites include Hydrating Kids Lotion (250ml value added size: RRP €19.95) which is easy to apply, with a moisturising and velvety texture. This lotion is very water  resistant and non-greasy, non-sticky. The Invisible Kids Mist (125ml RRP €22.00), is an  easy to apply fine mist, and Invisible Kids Spray (200ml RRP €22.00), both designed to  ensure full coverage and easy application for children, with very high resistance to  water. Suitable for the face and body. 


For information about how to protect your skin from UV damage with the SunSmart  Code go to:  

https://www.cancer.ie/cancer-information-and-support/cancer-types/skin cancer/sunsmart-code