Millions of us could be putting our lives at risk by not applying sunscreen properly, experts have warned.
An online poll from the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) revealed eight out of 10 Brits don't apply sunscreen before going out in the sun. What's more, 70% of us aren't reapplying the protection every two hours.
“Applying liberally half an hour before going out into the sun, and then again shortly after going outside, is vital to ensure that you are fully covered and that the sunscreen has had time to be absorbed into the skin," said BAD's Johnathon Major.
"It should then be reapplied at least every two hours, as the protective filters can break down over time."
"It should also be reapplied after any activity where it might be accidentally removed, such as swimming. Water-resistant sunscreens are not friction-resistant, and therefore they can be accidentally removed if you towel dry after swimming or sweating."
The online poll questioned 215 people. Other potentially bad habits also came to light as 35 per cent of people surveyed would only seek shade if they were hot, rather than to avoid burning.
Although getting a tan looks great, prolonged exposure can increase the risk of developing melanoma - the deadliest form of skin cancer.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and rates have been climbing since the 1960s.
Every year over 250,000 new cases of non-melanoma skin cancer – the most common type – are diagnosed, in addition to over 13,000 new cases of melanoma, resulting in around 2,148 deaths annually.
"While we have succeeded in making people aware of the link between sunburn and skin cancer, we have more work to do in teaching people how to use sunscreen properly," said Mr. Major.