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Teenagers 'unaware of sun risks'

Four out of 10 teenagers think it is fine to lie in the sun for up to two hours without protection, according to a poll.

The survey, for the Teenage Cancer Trust, also found 15% of young people think sunbeds are a good way to build up a base tan against the sun.

More than one in three said they do not wear sun cream in Britain even on hot days, while more than half do not know how to apply it.

Many think sun cream should be rubbed in completely despite recommendations to leave a film on the surface of the skin for maximum protection.

The poll of 13 to 24-year-olds also found one in 10 think sunbeds are safe to use once a week. One in 10 mistakenly believe fake tans cause skin cancer.

Simon Davies, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "It's the sun damage done to skin when young that can lead to skin cancer in later life, which is why these findings are incredibly worrying.

"We all love the sun but we have to respect our skin. Melanoma is fast becoming one of the most common cancers in young people so they need to learn how to protect themselves now."

Skin cancer rates have tripled since the late 1970s among those aged 15 to 34.

More than two Britons under 25 are diagnosed every day with melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer.

The Sunbeds Act, which came into force in April, prohibits sunbed operators from allowing under-18s to use sunbeds.

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