Despite rising temperatures, Britons are still more reluctant than many other nationalities to use sun cream.
Protection is important
As a result the UK has Europe's second highest rate of a potentially deadly form of skin cancer called malignant melanoma.
A study by independent market analyst Datamonitor says there were 5,643 cases last year - a figure predicted to increase by 9.5% by 2010.
The report found that the average person in the UK bought 70ml of sun cream last year.
This lagged behind other countries such as Switzerland, the USA, France, Finland, Norway, Greece and Israel.
Spain sells the most in the world per person, at 170ml - although Datamonitor say a proportion of this is due to British holidaymakers.
Germany has the highest number of malignant melanoma cases in Europe, at 8,239
last year, says the report.
John Band, author of Datamonitor's sun cream report, said: "Historically, British people haven't bothered to protect themselves from the sun, illustrated by the stereotypical lobster-coloured holidaymaker.
"But as Britain becomes hotter it is clear that this attitude could well be costing lives."
The UK sun care market has shown variable growth in recent years.
In 2001, the market value grew by 9.6% - but sales declined by 6.7% in 2002.
Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK but most cases could be prevented.
The disease develops when genes in skin cells are damaged by ultraviolet radiation (UVR).
Most skin cancers are the result of excessive exposure to the sun. Many are caused by sun damage in childhood.
Malignant melanoma usually develops in cells in the outer layer of the skin and often starts with a change in the normal look or feel of a mole.
Most melanomas in women occur on the legs, while most melanomas in men occur on the back.