This week we've seen beautiful sunny days and it is set to continue this weekend.

For many of us enjoying time in sun each summer means we think we are clued up on how to stay safe in the sun.

But there are plenty of myths about sun cream and how it works.

In the UK, the sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 11am and 3pm from early April and late September.

During this time, the sun may be strong enough to cause damage.

The British Association of Dermatologists runs a national campaign around skin cancer called Sun Awareness.

It aims to raise awareness about of skin cancer and runs from April until September.

So here are some things you should know about SPF and keeping yourself safe in the sun.

What are UV rays?

The sun naturally gives out ultraviolet radiation (UV), whilst the UV from sunbeds is artificial. There are two main types of UV rays that damage our skin. Both types can cause skin cancer:

  • UVB is responsible for the majority of sunburns.
  • UVA penetrates deep into the skin. It ages the skin but contributes much less towards sunburn

In the UK, the sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 11am and 3pm from early April and late September.

Take extra care to protect your skin, especially if you get sunburnt easily.

READ MORE >>> Six great ways to spend the sunny weekend in Essex

How can I keep safe in the sun?

Cancer Research UK recommends:

  1. Spending time in the shade, especially between 11am and 3pm in the UK.
  2. Covering up with clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and wraparound sunglasses.
  3. And using a sunscreen with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars. Use it generously, reapply regularly and use in combination with shade and clothing

Sunscreen shouldn’t be used to extend your time in the sun.

Worryingly, research suggests people who use sunscreen to deliberately sunbathe are more likely to spend longer in the sun, and might even be more likely to get sunburnt.

Higher factor sunscreens may lure people into a false sense of security.

How should I use sun cream correctly?

Cancer Research UK says no sunscreen will give the protection it claims unless you use enough and apply it properly.

  • It doesn’t matter what the brand is, or the price, as long as it is SPF15 or higher and has a star rating of 4 or 5 stars.
  • Make sure you put enough sunscreen on – people often apply much less than they need to.
  • When your risk of burning is high apply sunscreen evenly and thickly. As a guide for an adult this means: Around two teaspoonfuls of sunscreen if you're just covering your head, arms and neck.
  • Reapply sunscreen regularly throughout the day including ‘once a day’ and ‘water resistant’ products. Sunscreen can rub, sweat or wash off. It’s especially important to reapply after toweling dry. And reapplying helps avoid missing bits of skin.
  • Don’t store sunscreens in very hot places as extreme heat can ruin their protective chemicals.
  • Check the expiry date on your sunscreen before you use it. Look for a symbol on the pot with the letter M and a number which shows the number of months the sunscreen will last once it’s been opened.