Skin cancer: Dermatologists issue warning about SPF moisturizers

Dermatologists have warned that people should not rely on moisturizers or cosmetics containing SPF as a substitute for sunscreen.

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) says increasingly popular products do not offer the same level of protection as sunscreens with equivalent SPF.

The warning comes amid an alarming rise in skin cancer – diagnoses have skyrocketed by 26% in just six years across England, new NHS figures show.

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Matthew Gass, of the BAD, said cases of skin cancer had been on the rise since the 1970s, it was now the most common cancer in the UK.

Skin cancer diagnoses have skyrocketed 26% in just six years across the UK

“It’s not necessarily surprising to see that the most recent UK skin cancer figures show rates have risen again,” he said.

However, while Mr Gass said he could not give an exact reason for the “significant increase” in cases since 2013, it was “probably due to an aging population and registration activities”. better cancer”.

He added: “It is also possible that changes to sun-seeking behavior are a factor.

Mr. Gass said in recent years, the number of moisturizers and cosmetics containing SPF (sun protection factor) has increased significantly.

While they are tested in a similar way to sunscreen, he said, they “tend to be applied much thinner and therefore do not provide the same level of protection as comparable sunscreens,” he said. “.

“You should rely on these only when you are exposed to brief, accidental sunlight, such as if you go out to the store,” he says.

What types of skin cancer are on the rise?

All skin cancers are on the rise in the UK, according to the latest figures.

Keratin cell carcinoma, also known as melanoma, is the most common form of skin cancer.

In 2013, 163,078 cases of this type of cancer were diagnosed in the UK, which has increased to 206,911 in 2019 – a 27% increase.

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer that can spread to other organs in the body. Across the UK, 12,885 cases were diagnosed in 2013 and 15,332 in 2019 – a 19% increase.

There were also 1,849 rare skin cancer diagnoses in 2019, up 8% from 1,658 in 2013.

In Wales, melanoma skin cancer diagnoses increased by 21% in the six years to 2018. Unpublished figures for non-melanoma skin cancer.

In Scotland, the increase in cases is less obvious. Melanoma skin cancer diagnoses increased 2% in the six years to 2017, while non-melanoma skin cancer diagnoses increased 4% in the same time frame.

In total, more than 12,000 new cases of skin cancer were diagnosed in 2017 alone in Scotland.

Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in Northern Ireland. The number of diagnosed melanomas increased by 8% in the six years to 2019, while the number of diagnoses of non-melanoma skin cancer increased by 16%.

The way skin cancer cases are calculated can vary, so it can be difficult to make direct comparisons between different regions.

How can I protect myself from the sun?

The most common cause of skin cancer is UV exposure from the sun or tanning beds, but “taking reasonable precautions to protect your skin from the sun can damage your skin.” reduce your risk of developing skin cancer in the future,” says Mr. Gass.

He notes that the three main ways to better protect yourself from the sun are shade, clothing and sunscreen.

Mr. Gass said that the BAD recommends using reasonable shade, especially between 11am and 3pm when it’s sunniest, and wearing protective clothing, including hats and sunglasses, to protect your skin. you out of the sun.

He added: “As the last line of defense, wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 and protect from UVA rays. Skin cancer: Dermatologists issue warning about SPF moisturizers


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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