Sunseekers warned about lunchtime tan top-ups

SUNSEEKING ... but lunchtime sunbathing could do you harm.
SUNSEEKING ... but lunchtime sunbathing could do you harm.

ALMOST half of Britons have topped up their tans during their lunch hour, a new poll suggests.

Some 47 per cent of people from across the UK have sunbathed on their lunchtime breaks from work, the survey found.

But only half of those who spend their lunch time soaking up the sun said they had protected themselves with sun cream.

The poll conducted by L’Oreal UK and Ireland of 1,000 people from around the country found that one in 10 said they never wear sun cream when they sunbathe, and 14 per cent said they only protect themselves from the sun when they go abroad.

Mark Birch-Machin, professor of dermatology at Newcastle University, said: “As a dermatology scientist researching the harmful effects of sunlight on skin, I’ve long felt ‘lunchbreak baking’ needs addressing in order for people to enjoy the sun safely.

“It’s a balance between the benefits of sunlight and the risks of excess exposure, both of which have been well documented.

“This balance becomes more challenging when people are going out in the sun unprotected at the peak of the day when the sun is at its strongest.

“So if you’re planning on taking your lunch break outdoors at the peak of the day this summer, my advice is to find some shade and keep a broad spectrum sun cream and a wide-brimmed hat in your desk, so that you go out in the fresh air and enjoy the sun safely.”

Katriona Methven, scientific director of L’Oreal UK & Ireland, added: “It’s only natural we want to embrace the sunshine at every opportunity, which is why sun care should be a part of a well-rounded approach to sun protection, and a part of our daily skincare regimes - you never know when a sunny day will strike, so it’s best to be prepared.”

Last week scientists claimed that sunshine acts like an addictive drug and has a similar effect on the body as heroin.

Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun stimulate the production of endorphins, “feel good” hormones that act on the same biological pathway as opioid drugs, according to researchers from Harvard Medical School in the US.

Their study suggested that the desire to bake for hours on a beach involves more than topping up a tan. It may appease our craving for a sunshine “fix”, in much the same way as an addict satisfies a yearning for heroin or morphine.