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Norwegian Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority

Sun, sunbeds and health risks

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and sunbeds may cause negative health effects and is assumed to cause about 90 percent of all skin cancer cases in Norway.

Last updated: 14. april 2021 10:37


Both repeated episodes of sunburns and high amounts of total UV exposure from sun and sunbeds increases the risk of getting skin cancer later in life. You may reduce your risk by protecting yourself when being in the sun and by not using a sunbed.

Your skin does not forget previous skin injuries. Both repeated episodes of sunburns, especially in childhood, but also high total UV exposure from sun and sunbeds increases the risk of getting skin cancer later in life.

The most lethal form of skin cancer is melanoma. Norway is among the countries in the world with the highest incidence and mortality rates of melanoma. Skin cancer is one of the types of cancer that has increased the most in the course of the past ten years in Norway. UV exposure may also cause sunburn, premature skin aging, immunosuppression, inflammation of the cornea of the eye, cataracts, and skin cancers as basal cell carcinoma, squamous cell cancer and melanoma.

You may reduce the risk of both getting a sunburn and developing skin cancer by protecting yourself in the sun and by not using a sunbed. The lighter the skin type you have, the higher the risk, and the more important it is to protect yourself. 

Read more about skin cancer and sun protection at WHO, Euromelanoma and European Cancer League.

Protect yourself

Adopting a few simple precautions can greatly reduce the risk of sunburn and skin cancer.

  • Limit time in the midday sun
    Your best protection is to limit the time in the midday sun. Follow UV at the location where you are and protect yourself if the UV index is 3 or higher.
  • Avoid getting a sunburn
    The risk of skin cancer increases if you get sunburned and if you are exposed to high doses of UV over time.
  • Wear protective clothing
    Clothes, a brimmed hat, sunglasses and shade protects well against the UV radiation from the sun.
  • Use abundantly amounts of sunscreen
    Use sunscreen of at least 30 SPF. A handful for the whole body. You should reapply if you have bathed or sweated a lot.
  • Do not use sunbeds
    Use of sunbeds increases the risk of skin cancer. The risk increases the more sunbed you use and the earlier you start using a sunbed. There is no safe lower limit for sunbed use. Therefore, there is an 18-year age limit for using sunbeds in Norway. Read this before using sunbeds.

Read more about the UV radiation from sun and sunbeds, and see UV Today.

Sunglasses protects your eyes against the sun

  • UV radiation from the sun may injure your eyes. Sunglasses reduce the UV transmission by about 99 percent. 
  • Cheap glasses protect just as good as expensive glasses.
  • Make sure the glasses provide good protection from the sunlight reaching your eyes from the sides.
  • All sunglasses sold in Norway and in Europe shall have a CE mark. This mark shows that the glasses fulfils international requirements for UV protection.

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