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Category Archives: Safety In The Sun

Scientists make new sunburn discovery

Researchers may have discovered what it is that makes sunburn painful and a potential way of soothing the discomfort.

Scientists at the Duke University School of Medicine have been experimenting with the condition and found that by blocking a certain molecule they can reduce the pain suffered by getting burned.

The molecule is called TRPV4 and is common in skin cells. In an experiment with mice, the researchers found removing this molecule meant the animals suffered less pain after being exposed to the sun’s rays.

Wolfgang Liedtke, one of the senior authors of the study, commented: “We have uncovered a novel explanation for why sunburn hurts.

“If we understand sunburn better, we can understand pain better because what plagues my patients day in and day out is what temporarily affects otherwise healthy people who suffer from sunburn.”

Martin Steinhoff, who also worked on the project, said its findings could provide scientists with a target to work towards when trying to develop new anti-sunburn products.

He suggested TRPV4 blockers could be included in new kinds of skin cream or used to treat people who are suffering from a severe burn.

“I could imagine it being mixed with traditional sunblock to provide stronger protections against UVB exposure,” Mr Steinhoff stated.

However, the scientists warned more work needs to be done before this is possible.

While the findings of the researches are certainly interesting, it could be a long time before any of the products they discuss become available and even if they do, the best way to stay safe in the sun is to avoid getting burnt in the first place.

Sunburn is scientifically proven to increase the chances of contracting skin cancer, which is a potentially fatal disease. It can also cause less serious problems like premature ageing of the skin and wrinkling.

An ideal way to stay protected is by installing a Shaded Nation shade sail, click here if you’d like to learn more.

How to keep kids safe in the sun

Sunburn can be a problem for us all, but it’s especially important to prevent children from getting burnt.

Kids’ skin is more tender than adults and this makes it vulnerable to overexposure to the sun. Furthermore, it has been scientifically proven that suffering a bad burn as a child can increase a person’s chances of contracting skin cancer in later life.

Indeed, in July the skin cancer awareness organisation Melanoma Action and Support Scotland even suggested that parents who fail to protect their kids from the sun’s rays are guilty of neglect.

However, here at Shaded Nation we understand that keeping children safe can be easier said than done. With that in mind, here are our top tips on how to ensure your little ones have fun in the sun without getting burned.


It will do no harm to tell your children they should avoid getting sunburn because it is bad for their health. While you obviously don’t want to mention scary things like skin cancer, letting them know that getting burned is bad can only be a good thing.

Perhaps you can even make a game of it and challenge the kids to think of ways they can stay safe in the sun.


It’s reasonably easy to take some basic precautions to protect your kids from sunburn. Ensure they are dressed appropriately with a hat and long sleeved clothes where possible, while any exposed areas of skin should regularly have strong sun lotion applied.

Installing a shade sail is another way to keep them safe. These structures can block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays and are becoming a common feature in family gardens, schools and nurseries.

Setting a good example

If your children don’t see you taking action to protect your skin the chances of them doing the same are much lower. Kids love to emulate mum and dad and you’d be surprised at the impact setting a good example can have.

Men are most at risk of skin cancer

New research has revealed men are significantly more likely to die of skin cancer than women.

A study by Cancer Research UK found malignant melanoma – the most severe form of the disease – fatality rates are 70 per cent higher among males, which is a shocking statistic.

According to the organisation, 3.4 of every 100,000 men die as a result of the condition, compared to two women. However, the rate at which men and women contract the disease is much closer, with 17.2 and 17.3 from every 1000,000 diagnosed with it each year respectively.

Cancer Research said it expects this divide between the sexes to increase over the near future, with the fatality rate for males rising but remaining stable in females.

Julia Newton-Bishop, a Cancer Research dermatologist based at the University of Leeds, stated: “Research has suggested the difference between the sexes could be in part because men are more likely to be diagnosed when melanoma is at a more advanced stage.”

However, she added there may also be strong biological reasons behind men’s vulnerability to skin cancer and said scientists are currently working to explore this further.

Sara Hiom, director of early diagnosis at Cancer Research UK, claimed many men may be reluctant to see a doctor even if they notice a problem with their skin and this delay will increase the chances of their condition becoming fatal.

“If something goes wrong with the car then you sort it out straight away. The same should go for you – if you, or your partner, notice any unusual or persistent changes then see your GP,” she stated.

Cancer Research’s study is further evidence of the importance of staying protected in the sun, as malignant melanoma is scientifically proven to be linked to sunburn. Thankfully, keeping yourself safe is easy and can be done by covering up, applying sun lotion and sticking to the shade when the sun is at its strongest.

A shade sail is an ideal way to do this, as it can block 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays and provides a cool and relaxing sheltered spot in which to enjoy the outdoors.

Red heads are ‘100 times more susceptible to skin cancer’

It’s no secret that people with red hair and pale skin are more prone to getting sunburn, and have an increased risk of contracting skin cancer as a result.

However, a study has revealed just how vulnerable ginger-haired people are to the disease and the results are shocking.

According to researchers at the Harvard Medical School in Boston, red heads are up to 100 times more likely to contract the worst form of skin cancer – melanoma.

Leader of the study Dr Wenyi Wei commented: “Together, our findings provide a possible molecular mechanism as to why red-haired individuals harbouring MC1R mutations are much more susceptible to UV-induced skin damage than individuals with darker skin, resulting in a ten to 100-fold higher frequency of melanoma.”

This essentially means people with the red-hair gene have skin that is less protected against the UV light contained in the sun’s rays.

Melanoma accounts for around 75 per cent of all skin cancer deaths in the UK and some 13,000 people are diagnosed with the condition every single year.

One of the major causes of the disease is sunburn, as being over exposed to harmful UV rays is proven to significantly increase a person’s chances of developing the condition. This research demonstrates just how important it is for ginger-haired people to stay safe in the sun.

However, while red heads may be more at risk, it is crucial for people of all colours and skin types to protect themselves from over exposure, as sun burn and skin cancer can affect everyone.

An August survey by Cancer Research UK has revealed men may be particularly vulnerable to the disease. It found that in every 100,000 males, 3.4 will die as a result of melanoma, yet the figure is just two for women.

This means men are 70 per cent more likely to have a fatal case of the condition than women, which once again brings home the importance of avoiding sunburn.

A third of sunburn cases happen in the UK

It’s easy to think sunburn is only something to worry about if you jet off on holiday to warm countries like Spain and Greece.

However, that simply isn’t the case as the sun can be just as strong here in the UK during the summer months and getting burnt can lead to serious health problems such as skin cancer.

Indeed, a study carried out by Cancer Research UK and Nivea Sun has revealed a significant number of sunburn cases occur within Britain. In a survey of more than 4,000 adults it found over a third (37 per cent) were in the UK the last time they were burnt.

A third of sunburn cases happen in the UK

A third of sunburn cases happen in the UK

It’s not just sunbathers who are at risk, as ten per cent of people said they were burned when taking part in an outdoor activity, while 11 per cent were caught relaxing their garden or a park and five per cent when doing the same on the beach.

Yinka Ebo, Cancer Research UK senior health information officer, commented: “As our survey shows, it’s easy to get sunburnt in the UK even if you’re not actively sunbathing – so remember to look after your skin and enjoy the sun safely.”

The organisation’s research also found just 16 per cent of adults regularly reapply sunscreen throughout the day when the sun is shining strongly, while only 20 per cent always cover their skin with items like long-sleeved clothes and a hat. This suggests an alarming number of people are putting themselves at risk of sunburn, which is very dangerous.

“Not only can this [sunburn] cause premature ageing and wrinkles, but it also increases the risk of skin cancer,” Ms Ebo stated.

An ideal way to stay safe in the sun is by installing a shade sail, these attractive canopies are manufactured with sun protection in mind and can block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays.

Visit our online store to see the range of shades we have on offer.

How to keep kids sun-safe at school

Keeping kids safe in the sun is incredibly important. Getting badly sunburnt can cause serious health problems and as children aren’t old enough to appreciate the dangers themselves, it’s crucial you take care to ensure they are protected.

Indeed, avoiding getting burnt is especially important for kids, as scientists have discovered a clear link between suffering sunburn as a youngster and developing skin cancer in later life.

While keeping your children out of the sun isn’t too hard when you’re with them, ensuring they stay protected while off at school is more of a challenge. Here are a few tips on how you can ensure they stay sun-safe.

What to consider when designing a children's playground - part two

How to keep kids sun-safe at school

Get the basics right

Following a few basic principles will go a long way to ensuring your child comes back from school burn free. Dressing them in long-sleeved clothes will protect their skin by keeping it covered, while a hat will keep the sun off their face. If it looks like a hot and sunny day, sun tan lotion should be applied to any exposed areas of skin.

Making your little ones aware of the fact the sun is dangerous is also worthwhile. There’s no need to mention things like skin cancer, but informing them they should be careful when out in the sun can’t do any harm.

Speak to the school

If you’re concerned about your child getting burnt, why not speak to the school and find out what they are doing to help them stay protected? Schools have a duty to ensure the wellbeing of their students and if you’re worried they aren’t promoting sun safety you are within your rights as a parent to raise the issue.

Shade sails

Here at Shaded Nation we often provide shade sails to schools that are looking to create a shady spot where kids can relax away from the sun. These structures are highly versatile and are often used for creating outdoor classrooms as well. Any school that is looking to prioritise sun safety should consider investing in one of these structures.

Skin cancer becomes more common in Ireland

Skin cancer is becoming worryingly common here in the UK and new statistics suggest this concerning trend is also occurring in Ireland.

Data from the National Cancer Registry of Ireland (NCRI) has revealed an average of 6,899 cases of this disease were recorded each year between 1994 and 2011. Slightly more than eight per cent of these were malignant-melanoma, which is the most severe form of the condition.

The organisation found cases of the two main non-melanoma forms of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC) and squarmous cell carcinoma (SCC), have increased by 33 per cent and 39 per cent respectively between 2002 and 2011.

Skin cancer becomes more common in Ireland

The NCRI’s report also highlighted significant differences between skin cancer rates in males and females. A much higher number of men contracted SCC, which is associated with “chronic long term occupational sun-exposure”, which suggests males are a greater risk due to the fact they often spend more time working outside in the sun than women.

However, cases of BCC were much more common in both men and women overall and this variant of the disease has been linked to “acute sunburn events in childhood and intermittent adult exposure”.

Thankfully, only a small number of people who contracted SCC and BCC died as a result, with an average of less than 50 fatalities per year.

These statistics show how important it is to stay safe in safe in the sun and avoid getting burnt, as this is one of the primary causes behind rising skin cancer rates. Luckily, this is something everyone can do really easily by covering up and sticking to the shade when it’s sunny, as well applying suntan lotion to any exposed parts of your body.

A shade sail canopy is an ideal way to keep out of the sun and can be used at home and for a wide range of commercial purposes.

They are inexpensive and easy to install, with pre-made shades starting at less than £40.

Eating broccoli ‘could reduce skin cancer risk’

Everyone knows eating your greens is good for you, but a new study has revealed broccoli could be especially worthwhile.

Research by the University of Arizona has found the vegetable may help to reduce the risk of people contracting skin cancer. However, it’s not eating broccoli that will combat the disease, but spreading it on your skin.

This might not sound like the most attractive proposition, but according to Dr Sally Dickinson, who carried out the study, the vegetable contains a compound called sulforaphane that has chemopreventive properties, which can help prevent cancer from occurring.

Eating broccoli 'could reduce skin cancer risk'

Eating broccoli ‘could reduce skin cancer risk’

“We’re searching for better methods to prevent skin cancer in formats that are affordable and manageable for public use. Sulforaphane may be an excellent candidate for use in the prevention of skin cancer caused by exposure to ultraviolet rays,” Dr Dickinson stated.

She added that even though awareness of the dangers regarding sunburn has increased in recent years, there are still “far too many” cases of skin cancer occurring each year.

Dr Dickinson will now carry out a pilot test that will see a broccoli sprout solution applied to the skin of a group of patients and measure whether this has a positive impact when they are exposed to solar simulated light.

“We already know that it [sulforaphane] is very effective in blocking sunburns, and we have seen cases where it can induce protective enzymes in the skin,” she stated.

While Dr Dickinson’s research is still a long way short of being complete, it is encouraging that new and inventive ways of tackling skin cancer are being developed as the disease is becoming worryingly common.

However, if the thought of covering your skin in a broccoli-based solution isn’t too appealing, there are other things you can do to stay protected. Sticking to the shade is the best way to reduce your chances of getting burnt and a shade sail canopy is the ideal way to do this.

Capable of blocking up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays, these structures are a must-have investment for anyone concerned with sun safety.

Don’t let the sun spoil your appearance

Here in the UK a lot of people seem to be little obsessed with getting a tan. Indeed, many individuals are so desperate to catch the sun they are willing to let their skin get burned in the process.

While there’s no doubting brown, sun-kissed skin can look lovely, not everyone is lucky enough to have skin that turns this colour and will simply burn instead. Indeed, by allowing their skin to burn in pursuit of a tan, many people may actually be doing more harm to their appearance than good.

Here are a few reasons why beauty-conscious individuals should avoid spending too long out in the sun.


Don’t let the sun spoil your appearance

Wrinkles are many people’s worst nightmare, but if you over expose yourself to the sun the chances of developing these unwanted features is drastically increased. Sunburn is proven to cause premature ageing of the skin and if you’re hoping to stay looking young for as long as possible, being sun safe is a good idea.

Age spots
Age spots are brown blemishes that appear on the skin and while they may occur naturally, it is well known that too much sun exposure increases the chances of them forming.

Sagging skin
Another unwelcome side effect of sunburn is sagging skin, which as the name suggests, doesn’t look very pleasant.

Let’s face it, walking around with a bright red face is pretty embarrassing and impossible to hide. It can also be incredibly sore and getting into this state just because you’d like a tan really isn’t worth it.

Skin cancer
Of course, the primary reason anyone should want to avoid sunburn is because it’s scientifically proven to increase a person’s chances of contracting skin cancer. Sadly, cases of this disease are on the rise, even though it can easily be avoided by taking simple precautions to protect yourself from the sun.

Want to stay safe in the sun? Installing a shade sail will help.

Keeping pets sun safe

Here at Shaded Nation we know that pets are a genuine part of the family. You only have to take a look at our much-loved office hound Gus for proof of that.

As people love their pets so much, they will do whatever it takes to keep them fit, healthy and out of trouble. However, there is one problem that even well-meaning owners can overlook and that is sunburn.

It may surprise you to learn that dogs, cats and other animals can all get burnt in the sun and this can lead to serious health issues in much the same way it does for humans.

Keeping pets sun safe

Keeping pets sun safe

But what can be done to ensure your four-legged friend avoids the dangers of the sun? Firstly, the most important thing is to control the amount of time they spend exposed to direct sunlight.

One option is to simply keep your dog or cat inside. However, being cooped up for long periods is not good for an animal’s wellbeing and can lead to health and mental problems of its own.

The ideal solution is to allow your pet to spend time outside, but to have access to shade should they need it. A sail shade structure is the perfect way to provide this.

Manufactured to block up to 98.8 per cent of harmful UV rays, our shades can create a cool spot in which your pooch or moggy can relax while the sun is beating down. They also provide shelter from wind and rain and can, of course, be used by the human members of the family as well.

If you want to make sure you pet stays protected during sunny weather, specialised sun lotion for cats and dogs can be purchased and applied to areas most at risk of burn such as the ears and nose.

Providing your four-legged friend with access to shade is an ideal way to keep them happy and healthy just like Gus!