Doctors are warning people to use suntan lotion correctly or risk serious burns or skin damage. The warning comes as much of the northern hemisphere swelters in record-breaking and deadly heatwaves. Japan has declared its heatwave a natural disaster as at least 80 people have died from heat-related conditions. The doctors say people are getting less than half the protection from the sun than they think. Their advice is to use lotion with the highest sun protection factor (SPF) possible. Many people wrongly believe SPF 15 is sufficient to block the sun's harmful UV rays. However, researchers say people need to use SPF 30 or 50 to make sure they are protected.
The doctors highlighted another problem related to our use of suntan lotion - we do not use enough of it. Apparently, we are skimping on how much lotion we apply to our skin. Professor Anthony Young said most people apply lotion too thinly and often do not spread it on areas of the skin that are at risk. He said most people only get 40 per cent of the expected protection from SPF 50 lotion because they are applying it too thinly. People need to apply at least six teaspoons (36g) to cover their body. Doctors say we need to use more than half a teaspoon to cover the face, neck and ears. They warned us not to forget to put lotion on our ears, which we often neglect and are particularly prone to burning.