Skin cancer hospital admissions rise sharplyAdmissions for treatment up 41% in five years

03 September 2014

Sun cream at the beach

A good sun cream can help you protect your skin, as long as you use enough of it

Hospital admissions for skin cancer treatment have soared by 41% between 2007 and 2011, government figures show.

New data released by Public Health England show that admissions to English hospitals for skin cancer treatment have increased from 87,685 in 2007 to 123,808 in 2011.

Which? sun cream expert Yvette Fletcher said: ‘This news really emphasises the importance of sun safety - seeking shade, covering up and choosing a sun cream you can rely on.’

We tested sun creams and revealed our results in May this year, including seven Best Buys and three Don’t Buys. Which? members can see the results in our full sun cream review. If you’re not yet a member, sign up for our £1 trial to get access to all of our reviews.

Best Buy sun creams

To test sun creams, we put 15 products from well-known brands through strict British Standard tests to see if they reached the sun protection factor (SPF) stated on the packaging. We also tested whether they met EU recommendations for ultra violet A (UVA) protection.

Twelve products passed both parts of the test. Seven were named Best Buy sun creams for receiving four or five stars in our application test, which takes into account how the product feels, looks and smells on your skin and how easy it is to get the cream out of the bottle.

Sun creams to avoid

Three sun creams failed our SPF tests because they did not meet the SPF claimed on the packaging. This puts you at greater risk of developing sunburn, as you won't be getting the level of protection you expect. Head to the full review to see the products we've labelled Don't Buy sun creams.

Yvette Fletcher added: ‘We're concerned that these three products did not meet their SPF claim in our tests and we don't think you should buy them. The 12 sun creams that passed our tests can all be relied on to help protect you from the sun - as long as you apply enough.

'Many people don’t apply enough sun cream, so it’s best to choose a cream that provides the level of SPF protection you expect. Always follow the usage instructions on the bottle. The World Health Organisation recommends applying 35ml of sun cream, which is about seven teaspoons. That’s roughly one teaspoon for your face, head and neck, one for each arm and leg, one for your front and one for your back.'

More on this…

  • Find out how we test sun creams
  • Uncover what you need to know about sun cream
  • Read our full sun cream test results