Check moles and eat tomato paste: 10 tips to help you stay skin safe in the sun


We’re all hoping for a hot, sunny summer and going by the weather we’ve had so far we’re in for a scorcher.

However, even when you’re in the UK you need to be aware of staying safe in the sun.

You can just as easily get burnt and cause skin damage in Britain as you could on a beach holiday. 

Rebecca Maxwell, Skin Cancer Screening Nurse at The MOLE Clinic, and Dr Hilary Allan, Cosmetic Dermatologist at Woodford Medical Aesthetics, share their top tips on staying safe in the sun.

Be liberal with sunscreen

“You need approximately one teaspoon’s worth of sunscreen per limb – most bottles are only 200ml so it should last just a few days if applied and re-applied properly,” says Rebecca.

And, you should always use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 30 and five star UVA rating.

Use suncreams that contain ‘biologicals’

“Look for high, broad-spectrum sunscreens that contain ‘biologicals’ or antioxidants that protect against both UVA (ageing) and UVB (burning) for maximum protection,” says Dr Allan.

She recommends Epionce Ultra Shield Lotion SPF 50 (£40.50), which contains a potent antioxidant date fruit extract.


Don’t sweat it

“Use a water-resistant sunscreen as sweating will reduce the protection provided by your sunscreen,” says Dr Allan.

“If you run outdoors or if you are going to be exposed to water, a water-resistant sunscreen is vital.”

Protect yourself from top to toe

Remember to apply sunscreen to the back of the neck, ears, tops of shoulders and back of the arms and legs.

“They are easy places to forget as you can’t see them easily!” warns Rebecca.

Cover up when the sun is out

“Don’t be complacent!” says Rebecca. “Prolonged sun exposure in the UK can cause burning too.”

Along with sunscreen protection, wear protective clothing, a sun hat and sunglasses to protect your eyes.

Check your moles

Check your freckles and moles for changes such as shape, colour or size.

“A new or changing mole could be the first sign of skin cancer so get it checked out by your GP or an expert like The MOLE Clinic immediately,” says Rebecca.

Avoid burning at all costs!

“Just 15 minutes of sunscreen-free sunshine is all you need to get enough vitamin D,” says Rebecca.

If your skin starts to feel red and prickly, seek shade immediately and apply at least an SPF 30.

Don’t forget your sunglasses

“Did you know that sunlight entering the eye can also trigger pigmentation on the skin even if your skin is completely covered?” says Dr Allan.

“Signals get sent from the retina via the blood stream to the skin pigment cells and switch pigment production on. Not such good news for those who suffer from sun spots and unwanted pigmentation, so keep your sunglasses on!”

Forget gloopy, sticky creams

“You don’t need to compromise on adequate sun protection and a barely-there skin feel,” says Dr Allan.

She recommends looking for sunscreens that contain a micronized (or super-refined) zinc oxide – this is a safe, physical sunscreen that is considered to be non-irritating and non-comedogenic (non-pore blocking) and being super-refined, doesn’t leave you with a ghostly masked effect.

Eat tomatoes

For additional sun care protection, have a tablespoon of concentrated tomato paste a day.

“Tomatoes contain the antioxidant lycopene, so tomato paste contains concentrated lycopene which when eaten regularly helps to protect the skin from within from UV induced free radicals,” says Dr Allan.

It is important to remember though that this should be supplementary to wearing sunscreen and safe sun habits.


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