SCOTS have been warned not to risk skin cancer as the easing of the coronavirus lockdown offers more chances to sunbathe. 

The First Minister said people should not forget the dangers if they were tempted to get a so-called “furlough tan” in the uncharacteristically good weather this weekend.

Ms Sturgeon was speaking as she announced Phase 1 of the four-stage lifting of restrictions from Friday, including greater liberty for outdoor leisure activities, including sunbathing.

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She said: “It’s probably not often a First Ministerof Scotland can stand up here and tell people that they are going to be able to sunbathe. 

“Not just for the reasons of coming out of lockdown a little bit but also because hopefully we are going to have some uncharacteristically good weather at the weekend.

“But protecting yourself from the obvious risks of sunbathing around skin cancer is very important.”

Around 1,300 Scots are diagnosed with melanoma skin cancer each year and 170 die of it.

It is the second most common cancer in in the UK for the 15 to 34 age group, and the fifth most common cancer overall in the UK.  

Chief Medical Officer Dr Gregor Smith said people should avoid sunbathing when then sun was at its strongest, between 11am and 3pm.

He said: “People from Scotland tend to have high risk of developing many of the different types of cancers we associate with sun and UV exposure.

“People should take the precautions ... making sure they are covering up, making sure that if they have got exposed skin they are using some sort of sun protection, Factor 25 or above.

“When things begin to get warmer, when people spend a lot of times outdoors in the sun, it’s really important to make sure we are doing other things as well to protect our health.

“Making sure we take regular fluids - and I’m not talking about alcohol here, because we really need to make sure we are very careful with our alcohol intake - but making sure that we are keeping hydrated when we are in that sun as well is really, really important.”

Karis Betts, of Cancer Research UK, added: “With many people at home, lockdown gradually easing and the good weather continuing, there may be an opportunity to spend more time outdoors.

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“Although we might not be going away on holiday, it’s still important to take care not to burn. “Far from being a sign of health, a tan is actually a sign your skin is trying to protect itself from too much UV– and sunburn means that the DNA in your skin cells has been damaged. “Over time, this damage can build up and lead to skin cancer.

“In Scotland there are plenty of us with fair skin and we know that those with the highest risk of melanoma skin cancer include people with lighter skin tones, lots of moles or freckles, a history of sunburn and a family history of the disease.

“When the sun is strong, spend some time in the shade, pop on a t-shirt and hat, and regularly apply a sunscreen with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars.”