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Olympic heroes don the Lifeguard shorts for Sun Awareness Week 2014

Olympic heroes and British icons Louis Smith and Greg Rutherford will swap their Team GB kit for the red shorts of the Lifeguard and step onto the beach to guard the nation’s skin in the name of Sun Awareness Week 2014.

Louis and Greg will be appearing as Sun Awareness Week’s ‘Save Our Skin’ lifeguards at a pop-up beach at Bluewater shopping centre on May 10th, where visitors will be able to pose for photos with the stars against a blue sky and white sand background, and receive their own postcards as a memento to share with friends and family.

Run by the British Association of Dermatologists, and sponsored this year by Laboratoires Bioderma, one of the leading French dermo-cosmetic brands, Sun Awareness Week has become a staple in the nation’s summer calendar, bringing invaluable sun safety messaging to the British public.

Rates of malignant melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, have soared in recent years, with 13,000 new cases emerging annually and 2,000 deaths from the disease in Britain each year. More affordable holidays and an ever increasing fashion for tanned skin have been major contributors to a general lack of consideration for the dangers posed by the sun. Skin cancers are now the UK’s most common type of cancer and the need to arm the public with the means to protect themselves from the sun has never been more vital.

Johnathon Major of the British Association of Dermatologists commented: “We so rarely see the sun in Britain it is little wonder that when people have the chance they make the most of it. However, this means that when the sun’s out we tend to overdo it and many people view getting sunburnt as just a step on the way to getting a tan. We’re not calling for people to never leave their homes again during the hours of daylight, we’re merely asking people to enjoy the sun sensibly and take the necessary precautions, especially to avoid sunburn.”

Mathilde Castang of Laboratoires Bioderma said: “As a dermo-cosmetic laboratory we are highly committed to sun protection and consumer education through our PHOTODERM range and our numerous partnerships with photobiology researchers around the world. Sun Awareness Week is a very important cause and we are very proud to sponsor it as part of our commitment.”

Louis Smith said: “As an athlete I understand the importance of keeping yourself healthy, this means more than just diet and exercise. Working with the British Association of Dermatologists and Bioderma on Sun Awareness Week has been an eye-opener. The effect skin cancer is having on people’s lives is huge. I'm really happy to be able to help in delivering lifesaving messages.”
Greg Rutherford commented: “Having seen the stats, skin cancer rates in the UK are a massive concern, made even worse by the fact that they’re growing. Being a fair-skinned sportsperson who spends a considerable amount of time outside, I know the importance of sun protection. Contributing to Sun Awareness Week, and the work the British Association of Dermatologists and Bioderma are doing to fight skin cancer, has been a great way of promoting healthy living and providing people with the knowledge to protect themselves.”

There are two main types of skin cancer: non-melanoma, the most common, and melanoma, which is less common but more dangerous.

Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in the UK, with more than 100,000 new cases diagnosed every year. However, a recent study estimates that rates of the most common type of skin cancer, basal cell carcinoma (BCC), are now twice as high as Government statistics suggest and that there are now around 200,000 cases of BCC each year, meaning it has risen 80 per cent over the past decade.

The primary way to protect yourself is to wear protective clothing and seek shade during the hottest hours of the day, 11:00-15:00. The frequent application of a sunscreen with an SPF no lower than 30 to guard against UVB, and with high UVA protection also, is another vital part of sun protection.

British Association of Dermatologists Press Office: Johnathon Major or Matthew Gass on 020 7391 6096 / 020 7931 6084 or email
Notes to editors:
1. Members of the media are welcome to attend the event

2. Exclusive quotes relating to the campaign only may be available by prior arrangement with the press office.

3. Sun Awareness Week takes place from the 5th to 12th May. It is owned by and trademarked to the British Association of Dermatologists, and is supported this year by Bioderma.

4. The official hashtag is #SunAwarenessWeek

The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. The BAD provides free patient information on skin diseases and runs a number of high profile campaigns, including Sun Awareness, which runs from May to September annually and includes national Sun Awareness Week in May. Website:

About Bioderma:

Prescribed by physicians and recommended by pharmacists, Bioderma has a unique approach of dermocosmetics skincare: biology at the service of dermatology. Bioderma believes that temporary relief alone is insufficient in treating most skin problems. Consequently, it offers a holistic, corrective solution for each skin type. Through enabling skin to achieve a sustainable recovery of its original wellbeing, Bioderma allows it to restore its natural balance. All the products are performance driven, high tolerance dermo-cosmetics.

For further press information or to set up interviews with the Bioderma key spokespeople, please contact: Wizard Publicity on 0207 725 9290 or email:

Bluewater shopping centre can be found a short journey away from Greenhithe Station in Kent. Please note – the Olympians will be on-site from 11am to 6pm with a scheduled break. Public photo opportunities are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Green tea and pomegranate aid in preventing skin damage

Green tea and pomegranate may help to protect against skin damage, according to a new study* which is to be released at the British Society for Investigative Dermatology’s Annual Meeting in Newcastle this week.

Environmental factors, such as excessive sun exposure and subsequent UV radiation, can lead to significant increases in the level of oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress occurs when molecules known as ‘reactive oxygen species’ are created in the body and damage the structure of the surrounding cells. This process can cause damage to the DNA of cells known as skin fibroblasts, found in the second layer of skin where these cells maintain and repair the skin in case of injury. This damage prevents the skin fibroblasts from protecting the skin and can result in serious skin damage, which is a major contributor to skin ageing and skin cancer.

Polyphenols, a class of organic chemical compounds naturally found in food sources such as green tea and pomegranates, are known to break down reactive oxygen species, rendering them harmless, and can therefore decrease the overall levels of oxidative stress in the body. This study demonstrated that pomegranate significantly reduces the damage inflicted by reactive oxygen species on DNA in skin fibroblasts by 47%, proving almost as efficient as the 56% reduction provided by MitoQ, an artificially engineered antioxidant used to prevent oxidative damage to cells and reduce the risk of a variety of diseases – including cancer and Parkinson’s disease.

Dr Christine Bösch from the University of Leeds, Lecturer in Nutrition, says: “Mitochondrial DNA is a form of DNA which is central to healthy cell operations and is found throughout the body, including skin fibroblasts. Mitochondrial DNA is particularly susceptible to oxidative damage, partially due to its less effective repair mechanisms as regular DNA, said damage can be a contributing factor in the development of serious diseases such as skin cancer. The effects of pomegranate on oxidative damage in mitochondrial DNA have been an intriguing revelation which may lead to further discoveries of effective, natural antioxidants.” 

Prof Mark Birch-Machin, the senior co-author from Newcastle University, Dermatological Sciences says; “For almost 20 years, my group at Newcastle University has been at the forefront of pioneering mitochondrial DNA as a highly sensitive biomarker of sun-induced damage in skin which can lead to ageing and skin cancer”. He goes on to say that: “This work also represents a unique collaboration with the other senior co-author, Dr Georg Lietz, a senior lecturer in Nutrition at Newcastle University and co-director with myself of a University spin out company called PB Bioscience Ltd”.

Johnathon Major, of the British Association of Dermatologists commented: “Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK, causing an average of seven deaths a day. Such research is vital in revealing resources to use in a multi-pronged approach in prevention of the disease. However, these additional resources should not replace the essential practices of sun protection, such as using a sunscreen with at least SPF 30, wearing protective clothing and seeking shade.”

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Leeds and Newcastle University. 


1. If using this study, please ensure you mention that the study was released at British Society of Investigative Dermatology Annual Meeting. The meeting is being held in Newcastle, April 7th to 9th 2014. 

“Effects of polyphenols on mitochondrial DNA damage in skin fibroblasts.”; C. Bosch, G. Lietz and M. Birch
Machin. 1University of Leeds, Leeds, U.K. and 2Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, U.K.

2. The British Association of Dermatologists is the central association of practising UK dermatologists. Our aim is to continually improve the treatment and understanding of skin disease. For further information about the charity, visit .

3. Skin cancer: More than 100,000 new cases of skin cancer are diagnosed annually in the UK, and while the disease can also occur on parts of the body not exposed to sunlight, extensive sun exposure is thought to be responsible for the vast majority of cases. In more than four out of five cases skin cancer is a preventable disease.

Every day 35 people in Britain are diagnosed with the disease, two of which being young people aged between 15 and 34. Whilst organisations such as ours are leading the fight in prevention and treatment, skin cancer is still proving to be fatal; seven people in the UK die every day from the disease.

UV irradiation in the form of UVA is associated with skin ageing. UVA affects the elastin in the skin and leads to wrinkles and sun-induced skin ageing (for example coarse wrinkles, leathery skin and brown pigmentation), as well as skin cancer. UVA can penetrate window glass and penetrates the skin more deeply than UVB. UVA protection in a sunscreen will help defend the skin against photo ageing and potentially skin cancer. UVB is the form of UV irradiation most responsible for sunburn and has strong links to malignant melanoma and basal cell carcinoma risk (types of skin cancer).

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