Radiation from the sun contains invisible ultraviolet (UV) radiation. UV radiation causes damage to the skin that, in the long term, can lead to skin cancers. Skin cancer is the most frequent cancer worldwide in predominately fair-skinned populations, and its occurrence has dramatically increased over the past few decades. The increase is assumed to be mainly due to more revealing fashion trends for clothing, a shift in lifestyles towards more outdoor activity, and sun-seeking behaviour and the desire for tanned skin, including the use of artificial UV sources like sunbeds.

There are different types of skin cancer. Melanoma (the so-called “black skin cancer”) originates from pigment-producing cells, and although it is the least common type, it is the most aggressive one, with poor prognosis if detected late. There are two main types of non-melanoma skin cancer: basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) (“white skin cancer”). BCC is the most frequent cancer in fair-skinned populations worldwide. BCC only very rarely spreads (metastasizes) but may occur at exposed body sites, such as the face. SCC is less common but may be fatal once the cancer has spread before it is detected.

Exposure to UV radiation has many negative effects on your skin, of which the most immediate ones are tanning or burning.