An expert says that making sure children don't get sunburn is "something to be taken seriously", after a new study revealed the dangers of young people having excess exposure to the sun.
The research by the Institute of Public Health and NUI Galway shows that at least nine out of 10 schoolchildren have experienced at least one episode of sunburn.
Meanwhile, 74% of 10-17 year olds said they experienced sunburn at least once during the past year.
There's a warning that sunburn, unprotected sun exposure and use of sunbeds increases the risk of developing skin cancer later in lfie.
Dr Rupert Barry, consultant dermatologist and Mohs Micrographic surgeon at St James's Hospital, spoke to The Hard Shoulder about the dangers to children and adults.
He told Ivan: "We can still go out and enjoy our summer - but it’s important we try to avoid as best as we can getting sunburned.
"We’re seeing an ever younger age cohort who are developing skin cancer.
"When I started in dermatology nearly 20 years ago, certain types of skin-cancer affected those who were 60-65+ in age. Now we’re seeing them quite regularly in people in their early and mid 30s."
Dr Barry stressed that sunbeds are an 'absolute no-no', pointing to data that shows some tanning beds can be up to five times more intense than the midday Australian sun.
He explained: "It is legal, but it isn’t medically advisable. We know that tanning beds and sunbed usage greatly increases one’s future risk of skin cancer. Certainly it can increase the [lifetime] risk of melanoma - the potentially fatal type of skin cancer - by up to 75%.
"As one would often hear… there is no such thing as a safe tan, except if it comes out of a bottle or a spray. Indeed, some of the newer agents like that can give a very natural looking tan.
"We’d much rather people would get a tan out of a bottle or spray, rather than sunbed usage."
According to Dr Barry, stats show that skin cancer rates in Ireland are expected to double in the next ten years.
He said: "It would be a silly message to put out that when it’s a good day to stay indoors and hide indoors. What we want is for people to be sun-aware so they can enjoy the outdoors, enjoy good weather whenever we get it… but to avoid getting sun-burnt.
"Significant sunburn as a child - even up to five episodes of moderate severity sunburn - can sometimes double or even quadruple the person’s future skin cancer risk. This is something to be taken seriously.
"Children can still have good fun in actually incorporating use of sunscreen… into how [they get] ready for going out."