Recently, the media has been saying that we’ve become too afraid of the sun in Denmark. But what exactly are the ups and downs, and what do we here at the Skin Cancer Clinic think about skin cancer and sun? Here are our suggestions on how you should approach the sun in a healthy and sensible way.

There’s no doubt that the sun is healthy. It is a source of the important vitamin D, which many Danes lack in winter, when the sun shines much less in our Nordic country. Vitamin D has a number of beneficial effects, including helping the body absorb calcium and keeping our immune system intact. But isn’t the sun the biggest risk factor for developing skin cancer? Yes, it certainly is, but it’s all about how and when we enjoy those lovely hours of sunshine.

Why should we take care of the sun?

It is the sun’s ultraviolet rays that increase the risk of skin cancer in excessive amounts. There are three different UV rays that come from the sun. UVA, UVB and UVC. UVC is stopped by the earth’s ozone layer, while UVA and UVB continue down to us. UV rays continue into our skin layers where they can cause cell damage. It is important that you consider when and how long you are in the sun, and that you pay extra attention to using sunscreen if you are directly in the sun between 12-15. According to the Danish Cancer Society, the number of Danes who have returned home from summer vacation with a burn has increased in recent years. The most important thing is to avoid burns, because once you’ve been burned, your skin is really damaged.

How to get healthy sun habits?

As we wrote at the beginning, the sun is healthy, but it’s like many other things in this world – everything in moderation. Here are some tips on how to make sure your sun habits are healthy.

  1. Let your skin slowly get used to the sun, this way the skin builds up protective pigment. So if you’re heading south, avoid spending a whole day on the beach the first day you arrive.
  2. Avoid sunburn at all costs. For example, if you’re at the beach on a summer day, remember to bring a protective sunscreen with the Nordic Swan Ecolabel, and make sure you bring a good shade option such as a parasol and sun hat.
  3. Turn down the sun between 12-3pm, when UV rays are at their highest.

If you follow these tips, there’s no need to be afraid of the sun, but always remember to respect the sun.

Great links with more information: