Watch Your Back is a sun protection resource designed for all gardeners and brought to you by the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund. Everyone who regularly spends time outdoors is vulnerable, it is men over 50 who are at the highest risk of developing skin cancer in areas that are hard to spot, such as the head, neck and back.
The MTMR Fund has teamed up with eight of the UK’s top gardeners, horticultural organisations and over 170 major garden centres to encourage everyone to get out and enjoy the garden, but stay safe, with a message to PROTECT, DETECT and PREVENT!
Here are some of its top tips to help gardeners, and anyone else working or playing outdoors, to stay safe in the sun.
Always wear a broad spectrum high factor sunscreen of at least SPF30 at all times, and a sunblock on your ears, nose and lips which are prone to burning.
Once applied to the skin, the active ingredients in sunscreen last approximately two hours and less if you are prone to excessive sweating or simply working hard in the garden. Reapply regularly and check for signs of sunburn (which you will need to cover up).
Full body sun protection is important and certain areas like the neck and arms are especially vulnerable. If you find it difficult to reach those tricky places, get someone else to do the honours and follow suit, or simply wear protective clothing.
Feet and hands are vulnerable to the sun and are a common place for skin cancer, ageing and age spots. Remember to protect with sunscreen after washing hands or taking off shoes half way through the day.
Come cloud or shine
Dangerous UV rays penetrate cloud, haze and fog. Don’t be caught out – use adequate sun protection on cloudy days as well as sunny.
Clear as day
Greenhouse glass does not protect your skin against UV rays so if you’re planning on spending time under glass, take the same precautions as if you were gardening outside.
Don’t be out of date!
The active ingredients in sunscreen deteriorate overtime. All brands have an expiry date and using it after this date may make the application ineffective, so check and if out of date, dispose of responsibly.
Lots more tips, advice and facts about skin cancer can be found at the website.