Summer is well underway and as the kids get set to break up from school you could be spending some more time in the sun.

Many of us think we are clued up on how to stay safe in the sun.

But there are plenty of myths about sun cream and how it works.

So here are some things you should know about SPF and keeping yourself safe in the sun.

How should I use sun cream correctly?

Cancer Research UK says no sunscreen will give the protection it claims unless you use enough and apply it properly.

It doesn’t matter what the brand is, or the price, as long as it is SPF15 or higher and has a star rating of 4 or 5 stars.

Make sure you put enough sunscreen on – people often apply much less than they need to.

  • When your risk of burning is high apply sunscreen evenly and thickly. As a guide for an adult this means: Around two teaspoonfuls of sunscreen if you're just covering your head, arms and neck.
  • Reapply sunscreen regularly throughout the day including ‘once a day’ and ‘water resistant’ products. Sunscreen can rub, sweat or wash off. It’s especially important to reapply after toweling dry. And reapplying helps avoid missing bits of skin.
  • Don’t store sunscreens in very hot places as extreme heat can ruin their protective chemicals.
  • Check the expiry date on your sunscreen before you use it. Look for a symbol on the pot with the letter M and a number which shows the number of months the sunscreen will last once it’s been opened.

How can I keep safe in the sun?

Cancer Research UK recommends:

  • Spending time in the shade, especially between 11am and 3pm in the UK.
  • Covering up with clothes, a wide-brimmed hat and wraparound sunglasses.
  • And using a sunscreen with at least SPF15 and 4 or 5 stars. Use it generously, reapply regularly and use in combination with shade and clothing

Sunscreen shouldn’t be used to extend your time in the sun.

Worryingly, research suggests people who use sunscreen to deliberately sunbathe are more likely to spend longer in the sun, and might even be more likely to get sunburnt.

Higher factor sunscreens may lure people into a false sense of security.

What are the mistakes people make? 

To help ensure you don't burn this summer, Dylan Griffiths, medical manager at Eucerin, runs down six common SPF mistakes and how to avoid them.

1. Not using enough sunscreen

"The easiest way to visualise is via teaspoons. It's recommended to use half a teaspoon for the face, neck and each arm. Then a full teaspoon to each leg, the front (chest and stomach) and the back.

"This totals six teaspoons, but if you don't feel that's enough then it's always good practice to add more."

2. Not using sunscreen on a cloudy day

"This is the biggest sunscreen myth. Sunscreen should be worn every day.

"Clouds filter out sunlight but not UV rays, so even on a cloudy day you're still getting up to 80% of the sun's harmful effect.

"If you're going outside then you should still cover up; your skin may not burn but it's still being exposed to long-term risks."

3. Using a lower factor to tan faster

"Your skin 'tanning' is a sign that it's being damaged by the sun's rays, therefore ensure you use a high protection factor to prevent the first signs of damage.

"The long-term effects of sun damage are not worth the risk for a short-term tan."

4. Believing your sunscreen is waterproof

"Waterproof sunscreen doesn't exist - we talk about water-resistance.

"This means the product won't instantly come off the skin when it meets water, and is designed for people who will be swimming or heavily perspiring.

"It is essential to re-apply the product straight after coming out of the pool and drying, or regularly whilst perspiring.

5. Thinking you don't need sunscreen indoors

"The damaging effects of UVA rays still penetrate your skin whilst indoors and near a window, therefore ensure you cover up whilst in the car or sat near the window."

Ultrasun Sun Protection Anti-Pigmentation Tinted Face SPF 50+, £36, QVC

6. Not using sunscreen on darker skin tones

"It's a common misconception that dark skin doesn't burn or doesn't suffer from the harmful effects of UV rays. In fact, skin cancer can be more difficult to detect on black skin.

"Darker skin does contain higher levels of melanin - black skin has a natural SPF of around 13.4, paler white skin is about 3.4.

"This therefore provides a higher natural protection factor compared to pale skin but it's not enough to protect from a day in the sun.

"Some sunscreens can provide an ashen or grey appearance to the skin, therefore look for a light textured, dry touch sunscreen or a spray oil."