Contact The Lister Hospital

We hope you enjoyed our garden, if you would like a printed copy of the Health in Full Bloom brochure or would like to make appointment to see a specialist please contact us.

020 3993 5961

Skin health: the facts

Being green-fingered can put you more at risk of sunburn, and potentially skin cancer due to your increased exposure to the sun. Spring can be a particularly vulnerable time too because there is a lot of UV light around. 

5 facts about your skin and the sun

Here is some interesting information you might not know about skin health:

UV rays on a cloudy day 

Even on a cloudy day, 80% of the sun’s harmful UV rays can reach your skin. (Cancer Research UK)


There are 3 types of UV rays – UVB is the form most responsible for sunburn and has strong links to malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma (types of skin cancer).

UK and skin cancer

More than 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK. (British Skin Foundation)

Skin cancer

There are over 45,000 diagnosed squamous cell carcinomas every year in England, 350% more than previous estimates suggested.  It is the second most common form of skin cancer. (British Association of Dermatologists)

Protecting your skin

Sunscreen UVA rating

With an SPF of 30 and a UVA rating of 4 or 5 stars is generally considered as a good standard of sun protection in addition to shade and clothing.

Dermatology advice on sun exposure

“Gardening is great for your health, but gardeners can run into problems with regards to sun damage to their skin from their outdoor lifestyle. Ultraviolet in the sunlight over years ‘chips away’ and can damage the skin, causing it to look wrinkled. Some gardeners may also develop skin cancers on the sun-damaged skin. These are usually ‘basal cell’ and ‘squamous cell’ skin cancers, which are less dangerous than malignant melanoma skin cancer. They are often on the face and require surgical removal." 


"So, when you are gardening, especially in sunny weather, it’s important you cover up your legs and arms with clothes, wear a hat, and slather on some high factor sunscreen on your face and other exposed places. This is especially important if you have fair skin.”

Dr Bob Sarkany

Consultant Dermatologist


Are you at risk of skin cancer?

The most common skin cancers are melanoma, the ‘basal cell’ and ‘squamous cell’ skin cancers. They usually occur on the areas of skin which are uncovered in the sun and are therefore vulnerable to gradual yet sustained sun exposure. It is not common for these types of skin cancer to be dangerous.

  • Basal cell carcinomas (BCCs) do not damage the body internally, so they are unlikely to be dangerous to general health. However, they gradually grow deeper into the skin and have to be removed by surgery so that they do not cause damage.
  • Squamous cell carcinomas are occasionally dangerous to general health, but it is rare for them to be a real concern as long as they are removed promptly. They tend to be fast-growing crusty lesions, and sometimes they are painful. 

The surgical techniques to treat these skin cancers have improved in recent years, especially for basal cell carcinomas: Mohs surgery allows for more aggressive BCCs on the face to be removed with less scarring and less chance of them coming back. Because these skin cancers usually result from long-term sun damage, getting into the habit of protecting the skin from the sun is the best way to prevent them. 

Christie Wellbeing

Protect yourself from skin cancer

The dermatology consultants at The Lister Hospital play a proactive role in highlighting how the sun can affect your skin, and how you can protect yourself when your outdoors.

Read our skin protection blog, where one of our consultant dermatologists provides useful tips and advice.

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