Sun Protection Tips for Gardeners

In honour of the 'Watch Your Back!' campaign, which we're supporting at Dobbies, we've pulled together some of their top tips for protecting your skin from the sun while you're in the garden. The campaign has launched with the help of 8 celebrity gardeners including Andy Sturgeon, Charlie Dimmock and David Domoney (pictured below). Take a look at our round up and remember to protect before you plant this summer!

Watch Your Back Sun Protection Campaign


  • Aim High - always wear a broad spectrum high factor sunscreen of at least SPF30 at all times. Make sure to apply sunblock to your ears, nose and lips which are prone to burning.
  • Reapply Regularly - once applied to the skin the active ingredients in sunscreen last approximately 2 hours. This can be less if you're working hard in the garden! Reapply regularly and check for signs of sunburn (which you will need to cover up).
  • Helping Hand - full body sun protection is important and certain areas like the neck and arms are especially vulnerable. If you find it difficult to reach those tricky places, get someone else to do the honours and follow suit, or simply wear protective clothing.
  • Happy Feet - feet and hands are vulnerable to the sun and are a common place for skin cancer, ageing and age spots. Remember to protect with sunscreen after washing hands or taking off shoes half way through the day.
  • Come Cloud Or Shine - dangerous UV rays penetrate cloud, haze and fog. Don't be caught out - use adequate sun protection on cloudy days as well as sunny.
  • Clear As A Day - Greenhouse glass does not protect your skin against UV rays so if you're planning on spending time under glass, take the same precautions as if you were gardening outside.

Sun time:

  • High Noon - avoid the sun at its strongest between 11am-3pm. On particularly hot days, instead of sweating it out, plan shed based gardening activities around these times. Or take a break!
  • Shady - if you are gardening in an area which receives full sun, why not put up a parasol to protect yourself?

Protective clothing:

  • Heads & Shoulders - sunscreen does not offer 100% protection and should be used in addition to protective clothing. A protective hat will cover high risk areas such as your forehead, scalp and ears.
  • Wear It Well - wear clothing that protects arms, legs and hands. Darker colours will stop more of the sun's rays than lighter colours while sunglasses with a UVA blocking filter will protect your eyes.

General sun sense:

  • Ice & Easy - have a large jug of cool water ready, next to your sunscreen. This will entice you to take shade regularly and it will keep your hydrated which is essential.
  • Sunshade - remember that the sun moves during the day. What was the shade in the early morning will not be a few hours later so keep an eye on the shade you have and if possible plan around it.

Last but not least...

Get outdoors and enjoy the sun, but as Adam Frost would say 'don't be daft, get outside but wear sunscreen!'

For more advice on sun protection, melanoma detection and prevention, visit


Credit: Sun protection tips by the Melanoma Fund

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