Page last updated at 23:46 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 00:46 UK

Scots take 'sun-fry' cancer risk

Sun-lovers were urged to use cream and spend some time in the shade

Scots have an unhealthy approach to sunbathing and the highest risk of contracting skin cancer in the UK, researchers have warned.

The study by the Royal Pharmaceutical Society found some had even used baby lotion and even chip fat to get a tan.

It follows figures from Cancer Research UK suggesting sunbathers from Scotland had the highest risk of contracting skin cancer in the UK.

The RPS urged people to always use a high factor cream to avoid "frying".

The society said it was crucial not to risk major health problems as the summer heatwave continues to soar.

In Scotland we have higher rates of melanoma than in Australia
Laura Wilson
Royal Pharmaceutical Society

It found that far from applying high factor sun lotion, many people took risks in the sun.

It said the Scottish fair and freckly skin-type burnt easily, and that a fifth of Scots surveyed admitted to "binge tanning".

Startlingly, about 40% even used products such as cooking oils and moisturisers to get a quicker, darker tan.

The RPS said that the real risk to health comes from a false belief that the Scottish sun is not as strong as the rays abroad.

Laura Wilson, from the RPS in Scotland, said: "This is a serious issue, I am worried that people still think the warnings about the sun do not apply to them.

"In Scotland we have higher rates of melanoma than in Australia.

"Scots tend to think they do not need to use sun creams at home but people must respect the sun at all times."

Rates of skin cancer are 11% above the UK average.

Youth education

The findings came as the Teenage Cancer Trust launched its Shunburn campaign.

Chief executive Simon Davies said people in Scotland were increasing their risk of skin cancer by not taking important precautions in the sun.

He added: "There's obviously a need to change people's attitudes at a young age and educate them about other important steps that everyone should be taking to avoid getting burnt."

The campaign advises high factor cream, covering up at times and avoiding the hottest parts the day.

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