SunSmart Code Ireland

Irish Cancer Society urges the public to be SunSmart as Met Éireann forecasts increased temperatures and a high UV Index

The Irish Cancer Society is urging the public to take measures to protect their skin, even if there is cloud cover, as Met Éireann predicts that temperatures are set to rise over the coming days. It is also anticipated that the UV Index will be high which means a much higher chance of sunburn.

Repeated sunburn has been directly linked to skin cancer, with cases in Ireland rising year on year. Almost 12,000 Irish people are diagnosed with skin cancer every year.

Kevin O’Hagan, Cancer Prevention Manager with the Irish Cancer Society said, “During hot weather, and when UV levels are high, we need to be extremely cautious about our skin’s exposure to the sun. Repeated sunburn before the age of 35 can lead to an increased risk of skin cancer in later life."

“Skin cancer can be prevented in nine out of ten cases by protecting the skin from over exposure to UV rays, even when it’s cloudy. Over the coming days we want people to ask themselves ‘what can I do to protect my skin and be safer in the sun’ and take a minute to prepare, like popping some sunscreen, a hat and sunglasses into their car or bag. We are also calling on those who play sports or work outdoors to take extra precautions during hot or humid weather.”

“Whether it’s sunny or cloudy, everyone should protect their skin this summer and follow the Irish Cancer Society’s SunSmart Code. It is vital that people take pre-cautions to reduce their risk of sun damage and check their skin regularly for changes.” O’Hagan concluded.

The Irish Cancer Society’s SunSmart code advises to:

  • SEEK SHADE: when UV rays are at their strongest – generally between 11am and 3pm.
  • COVER UP: by wearing a shirt with a collar and long shorts. Also wear a hat that gives shade to your face, neck and ears.
  • WEAR WRAPAROUND SUNGLASSES: make sure they give UV protection.
  • SLOP ON SUNSCREEN: Use sunscreen SPF minimum 30 or higher and UVA protection 20 minutes before going outside and re-apply every two hours – more often if swimming or perspiring.
  • CHECK the UV index
  • Keep babies under six months out of the sun.

For more information on skin cancer or how to be SunSmart, visit

To speak to a cancer nurse on any aspect of cancer contact the Cancer Nurseline on Freephone 1800 200 700, email or drop into one of 13 Daffodil Centres in hospitals nationwide.