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Start / The sun

Enjoy the sun safely

It is possible to enjoy the sun while at the same time protecting oneself against the sun’s damaging ultraviolet radiation.

Many Swedes enjoy spending time in the sun and getting a suntan. Each year, hundreds of thousands of Swedes travel to sunny destinations abroad for a holiday.

Our sun habits are probably the main factor behind increasing numbers of people developing skin cancer. Skin cancer is one of the most common kinds of cancer in Sweden. Each year, around 40,000 people develop this illness. There is a strong link between getting sunburnt often, particularly at a young age, and developing malignant melanoma, the most dangerous kind of skin cancer. Malignant melanoma has become increasingly common in Sweden over many years now; in 2010, around 2,800 people developed this illness.  

It is possible, however, to enjoy the sun while at the same time protecting oneself against the most harmful ultraviolet radiation from the sun. The best protection is clothing, a hat and sunglasses. Another good way is spending time in the shade mid-day (11 am–3 pm), when the sun is highest in the sky and the sun’s UV radiation is the strongest. Use sunscreen where clothing can’t provide protection. If you do get a sunburn, remember to keep your skin out of the sun so that it has time to heal.

Keep in mind that the sun can cause damage at places other than beaches. You also need protection from strong sunlight when you (for example) go boating, play golf and work in your garden.

Annual survey of Swedes’ sun habits

Since 2005, the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority has, with the help of Statistics Sweden (SCB), performed an annual survey of Swedes’ sun habits. The survey shows how much Swedes are exposed to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation and reveals Swedish attitudes to tanning and sun protection. The questionnaire is sent to 2,000 persons between the ages of 18 and 74.

In a nutshell, the annual survey indicates that Swedes are aware of the risks posed by sun tanning. Almost everyone knows that the rays of the sun can cause cancer and that the sun is strongest between 11 am and 3 pm; also, that clothing provides protection against the sun’s rays. Despite our knowledge about the risks, many people get sunburnt and few people use adequate protection.

Last updated 2017-06-13