Sunburn and the dangerous consequences that come with it are linked with poverty, charities have warned. People who cannot afford sunscreen are sacrificing it in the cost of living crisis and that can be detrimental to their health.
Around 25,000 cases of skin cancer are linked with poverty each year, according to the charity Melanoma Focus. For cases of melanoma, which is the deadliest form of skin cancer, it’s approximately 4,000.
The charity’s recent survey data showed that half of UK adults think sunscreen is too expensive and most (67%) would use it more if it was cheaper.
One in 10 people don’t use sunscreen at all because of the cost. People on the lowest incomes are less likely to wear sunscreen than any other economic group. But many people don’t know getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple your risk of melanoma, according to Cancer Research.
Susanna Daniels, the chief executive of Melanoma Focus, said last month: “The government could help make skin protection more accessible to all, regardless of income level, by removing VAT from high-factor sunscreens. This would be a cost-effective way to cut the overall incidence of skin cancer and could help save lives.”
The government has not acted on these calls, with a Treasury spokesperson telling The Guardian: “We recognise the impact that rising prices are having at home which is why we are providing significant support worth on average £3,300 per household. This includes holding down energy bills, uplifting benefits and delivering direct cash payments.