The sun’s shining and here I am cowering in the shade! Never been a sun worshipper, but now, post radiotherapy (and also having met so many people with skin cancer), I’m in danger of becoming nocturnal!
I am happy to stay pale, interesting and PROTECTED, so I’m looking for something with maximum protection. Maybe it’s just my ‘chemo-brain’ but I find myself overwhelmed by the choices.
So can anyone recommend something good?

I bought nivea factor 50 and its useless, i burnt through it. I also would be interested to know what others use. I did find a very good one for the horses in the health shop it was for humans but used it on the horses now i cant remember what it was called but it was excellent doh chemo brain goes on for so long. If i get to remember i will pop back and post it.

It is only the area that has been irradiated which needs super-protection. So sun screen factor 50 PLUS light clothing and a broad-brimmed hat should keep you safe.


Have just come in from the sun, and seen this thread. I was plastered in Soltan factor 50, on the very few areas of my skin that were exposed. However, post chemo, and half way through rads, it was not enough…and I have retreated! I have always used a high factor (always thought it would skin, rather than BC, as I BAKED as a teenager), and not found too much difference in the brands. My only suggestion is to follow medical advice, and that on the tube, and PLASTER it on really thickly! Might end up reembling a piece of human fly paper though!!

First point: the factor shows how much longer you should be able to stay in the sun before burning, and that’s now post rads time, so it’s even less. If you would burn in 5 minutes in midday sun now, then factor 50 will increase that to 250 minutes if you put it on much more thickly than most of us do and reapply it thickly every couple of hours. You may need a SUNBLOCK, which is opaque and keeps more out, or use a high factor sunscreen and keep to the shade. Or cover up.

My actual experience was about 9 months after rads finished, in southern Spain in high summer. I kept to the shade during the middle of the day and used a high factor sun lotion, though I can’t remember which, and was really diligent about re-applying.

The current weather is deceptive: because the sun is straight overhead at mid-day, it’s stronger than you might think, even knowing it’s warm weather. Haze and reflection from bright surfaces like water, sand and concrete can make it even stronger. I know it’s not as hot as a summer heatwave or the Med, but UV and heat are not the same thing.

A bit of sunshine is good for you for the vitamin D. Try to get it in the morning or later afternoon.


Ive never burnt in the sun and am out in it all day long but now post chemo and havent had rads i burn, im covered and wear a hat and burn through that the only option sadly is to stay in the shade when ever possible and i worship the sun lol
Thanks for the info Cheryl.

So are sunblocks always opaque?

usually think of cricketers playing in the sunshine with those white stripes on their faces

if you are post Rads I would keep the area covered with clothing something loose and a natural fibre

I used a sun block post rads , i was only 3 weeks after and it was an area of my collar bone chest and the block made my skin ‘cook’ and i developed itchy sun it was horrible


emma,no def not always opaque, i love the sun , i just bought some factor 40 banana boat cream 2 powder, fab 4 my kids cos they hate the greasy feel of suncream, i love the oily feel of a nice sunoil(always use factor 20!)but rads r looming and need 2 get a bit more protection than i may not have used in my sunbathing past! alex xx ps my sis is a beautician and lectures me all the time bout the sun.i love it,kids love it(with at least factor 40 4 them!)xx

just 2 add u can get a decent total sunblock that is usually rated ay spf50 or around, u dont have 2 buy a thick cream that makes u feel all hot sweaty and nasty.take a look at boots website.(sorry if im not allowed 2 say that)at the end of the day,the higher factor the better protection,regardless of creams,gels,sprays! alex xx

I used Ambre Solaire 50 and it has worked fine during this lovely weather. I use suntan lotion on my affected arm always and wear high neck t-shirts to protect my chest where I had radio up to the collar bone. Finished radio in Feb, so unsure how the sun will affect me.
Actually, just bought a load of these t-shirts at mands, only £6 each. Not highly fasionably, but at least my chest will be covered this summer…
Nikki x

Rhian - I have the same reaction to very high factor suncreams - it feels like they trap the heat and don’t allow the skin to breath. I get an awful prickly heat rash. So I rarely use anything above 25 now, and cover up instead.

That’s a good point, Rhian and Finty–some sun products don’t suit everyone’s skin. Even before BC treatments, some would bring me up in nettle rash, so check the labels for information about suitability and if your skin is always or temporarily sensitive, try something meant for children or babies or cover up. If you are having rads, remember that you must avoid products with metallic salts, so check or cover up.

Loose fitting natural fibres are the most comfortable in hot conditions, and I think are more comfortable than sweaty skin rubbing. Tight weaves and dark colours give better sun protection.


Just another thought I used to use E45 sun for my son when his eczema was very bad, (and I mean bad cos I had to wet wrap him) it’s F50 and sunblock but it’s white when it’s on, but hey better than burns ehh!

I’m using the Ambre Solaire UV Sensitive 50+ at the moment - it’s described as a milk rather than a cream so isn’t as thick and gungy as some of the others. I’m often sensitive to the thick ones as well and come out in an itchy rash so in recent years I’ve used the Ultrasun and Piz Buin once a day lotions. They’ve been great for sailing in the Caribbean and even in Florida and Turkey in July/August - I’ve never got burnt when using them, but I really don’t think they’d be enough protection now. There was one I bought in the Caribbean - Hawaiian Tropic oil free Lifeguard Formula - that was absolutely brilliant and the best I’ve ever used (it was recommended to us by a professional windsurfer in Antigua). We couldn’t buy it here though and I thinkl they’ve stopped making it now.

I haven’t started rads yet but will finishing them at the end of June and plan to go on holiday at the end of July (if we can find something to book!). I have a rash vest that is SPF 50 that I’ll wear for swimming but I think apart from that I’ll just have to cover up and/or stay in the shade as I’m sure my skin will be far too sensitive to risk any exposure.

Jane xxx

For sensitive scalps you might want to try using a UV protective Buff, which is SPF50. I’m thinking of maybe pinning it to my clothing when it gets to that point, as it’ll be the middle of summer by the time I get fried.

This time of year the ozone layer isn’t as thick, so more UV rays get through, so even though yesterday wasn’t as hot as summer days can be, the sun can still do some damage.

I use a Green People brand, it is fine, but only for my face (and that is vanity reasons), and for high summer.

Being fair, I always used to use a high factor, but now post bc I don’t use any. We really need out vitamin d, particularly as for about 5 months of the year the sun in the uk is not really strong enough to make vit d.

The chemicals in sunblocks are really not good, and there is some evidence that when put under the sun’s ultra violet rays they are far more easily absorbed into the skin and more dangerous and volitile. The rates of skin cancer in Australia and NZ have risen exponentially in line with teh increased use of high factor sun creams - go figure. In those countries too, where the sun message is so strong, some children have developed rickets due to lack of vit d.

I have been out in the middy sun this April and usually burn easily, I have not burnt at all, the sun really is not very strong in the UK (different maybe if you are in Spain or NZ), so less of a danger than the marketeers would have us believe.

I met someone recently who swore by using her own pee as a sunblock…I’m open to most things, but yet to use this option - will keep you posted if I do try! lol

Eeew, don’t know about that one, Gretchen, it’d certainly keep something away but not sure if it’s the UV rays!

Gretchen I use the Green People factor 25 one as well and it has been fine - I have very sun-sensitive skin, I can get a tan in about 20 minutes, but haven’t burnt with the factor 25 yet.

UNIQLO make a range of very fine knitwear that apparently protects you from sun yes doesn’t make you hot.