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Our Skin - The Facts

Skin Cancer Information

Our skin is our body’s largest organ that performs a variety of
vital functions - learn how UVR affects and damages our skin

Skin cancer is the UK’s most common and fastest rising cancer.
It is now one of the biggest cancer killers in 15-34 year olds.

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Solar Ultra Violet Radiation (UVR) is a known carcinogen.
It cannot be seen or felt and is the primary cause of skin cancer

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Sunburn is a reaction to UV radiation and is a clear sign that
you have seriously damaged your skin.

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Sunbeds are not safe - FACT! UV radiation from sunbeds can
cause serious and irreparable damage and cause melanoma

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Worried about Vitamin D? Know the facts and how much sun
we need to produce the required daily levels.

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All skin types can be damaged by UVR, but some skin types
and family history of skin cancer can mean you are more at risk

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Our skin performs the following functions:

  • A protective barrier eg. against physical injury and penetration of Ultraviolet (UV) radiation
  • Immune function.
  • Prevents loss of body fluids.
  • Controls body temperature.
  • Plays a role in metabolism eg. getting rid of waste products through sweating.
  • A role in Vitamin D production.
  • Acting as a sensory organ and giving us a gripping surface.
  • If the barrier function of skin is compromised it can have serious consequences.
    eg. severe burns can cause fluid loss and dehydration and increase the risk of severe infection.

The skin is divided into 3 main layers:

  • Epidermis - This acts as protective barrier (UVB and UVA rays penetrate the spidermis).
  • Dermis - Gives structural support to the epidermis and is composed mainly of specialised proteins called Collagens (UVA rays also penetrate the dermis).
  • Subcutaneous Layer - This is mainly fat and can be quite thick in certain areas of the body eg. Stomach area.

The most serious health effect of over exposure to UV is skin cancer.
The skin is the largest organ of the body. Skin cancer can grow when the cells that make up our skin are damaged. In most cases this damage is caused by over-exposure to solar UV.


Our body is made up of tiny building blocks called cells. Cells normally grow, divide, die and are replaced in a controlled way. Cancer is a disease that occurs when the cells of the body are damaged, causing them to grow out of control.

The top layer of the skin contains three different types of cells: basal cells, squamous cells and melanocytes. Skin cancer types are named after the type of cell in which the cancer develops.

You may also be interested in the following related topics:

Skin Cancer TypesThe UV IndexUVR - The FactsEarly Detection
Sun Safety & Skin Cancer Booklet
Sun Safety & Skin Cancer Booklet
Download all you need to
know in one handy little book
DOWNLOAD NOW
Skin Cancer Prevention Top Tips
Skin Cancer Prevention Top Tips
Look after your skin and follow
the golden rules of sun safety
LEARN MORE
Skin Cancer - The Warning Signs
Skin Cancer - The Warning Signs
Learn how to check your skin and
what you should be looking for...
LEARN MORE
Spotlight Topics

Sun Safe Schools
Sun Safe Schools
National primary school accreditation scheme developed by Skcin to teach children and assist schools and parents on the importance of sun safety
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Sun Safe Nurseries
Sun Safe Nurseries
National pre-school accreditation scheme developed by Skcin to teach children and assist settings and parents on the importance of sun safety
LEARN MORE
Sun Safe Workplaces
Sun Safe Workplaces
National workplace accreditation scheme developed by Skcin to teach outdoor workers and employers the importance of sun safety
LEARN MORE
Virgin Holidays
Virgin Holidays
Skcin have partnered with Virgin Holidays to target the most difficult ‘at risk’ group of holiday makers and active tan seekers for all year round awareness
LEARN MORE

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