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Skin cancer warning as UK faces highest ever UV levels due to drop in pollution from coronavirus crisis

BRITS enjoying the soaring temperatures this week have been warned against the dangers of skin cancer.

The UK is facing its highest UV levels ever this week due to a drop in pollution from the coronavirus lockdown.

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High levels of ultraviolet rays can cause health issues such as sunburn and cataracts.

Air pollution has dropped off with the pandemic, with many flights being cancelled

Such pollution would usually stop strong UV levels getting through.

This week levels of UV in the UK are expected to reach 9 in some places, the highest UV level is 11.

Level 10 is usually common in Mediterranean countries – while level 11 is the most extreme.

Most of the UK is at level 8 today and doctors have warned Brits of the dangers of too much sun exposure.

Speaking to The Sun Dr Sarah Jarvis, GP and Clinical Director of said: “Sunburn is never a good idea. It’s not just because it’s painful and is linked with potentially serious heat exhaustion or even heat stroke.

“More importantly, it increases your risk of skin cancer – particularly the most deadly kind of skin cancer, melanoma. This risk is even higher if you get burnt in childhood.”

Dr Sarah advises that people looking to spend time in the sun this week take the correct precautions in order to stop them getting skin cancer and other conditions.

“Buy new sunscreen with a high SPF (sun protection factor) – at least factor 30 for most people. Out of date sunscreen is less effective. Make sure it has a high level of UVA and ideally also UVB protection.”

How to check for changes in your skin

Dr Firas Al-Niaimi said all you need to do is remember your ABCD's when it comes to changes in your skin

A – Asymmetry

B – Border Irregularities: if the edges of a mole have changed

C – Colour change: particularly blue/grey/black)

D – Diameter: enlarging moles

SPF products have a star rating. Five is the highest rating and the EU recommendation is at least three stars.

Temperatures across the UK could reach up to 34C in some parts and Dr Firas Al-Niaimi, consultant dermatologist at sk:n also warned of the dangers of high UV levels.

Speaking to The Sun he said: “The incidence of skin cancers is rising, particularly in western countries with a fair-skinned population and increasing UV light. People should therefore be vigilant with regards to the risks associated with the sun. They should watch out for any change in existing moles.

“People should also be aware of any new legions arising, particularly if this is accompanied by changing colours or rapid growth. If in any doubt after exposing your skin to the sun or if you spot any of these changes, I would always recommend consulting a dermatologist.”

While the risk of developing skin cancer from the sun is high, one expert said those who already have cancer should also take extra precautions.

Speaking to The Sun Dr May Gilbert, GP at Pulselight Clinic said: “While the sun is out it can be a worrying time for those with cancer. The sun rays are in fact strong enough to damage the DNA even when it is cloudy.

"The high level of UV Radiation we are receiving from the sun this week can damage the DNA in our skin cells and this could be a cause of skin cancer in the future.”

She added that getting sunburn can triple your risk of developing cancer.


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