Despite our less than exotic weather and the wettest April on record for over a century, our skin still needs protection.

Leading fake tan manufacturer St Tropez conducted research recently into the dangers of sunbathing and the results were startling. They found that over a third of the British public feel they don’t need to protect their skin from dangerous UV rays whilst at home in Britain.

The research, commissioned to mark Sun Awareness Week, showed that Brits were not particularly clued up when it came to myths and truths about UV exposure. One in ten believe that the sun in the UK isn’t as strong as it is in more tropical climates and 20 per cent of the public think you can’t catch the sun through glass. Perhaps the most worrying of the findings showed a further fifth of the population think you need to burn in order to get a tan.

Keen to raise awareness on the importance of safe, model and TV presenter Abbey Clancy says: “Being a mum, I’m keen to pass on beauty advice to the next generation so if you’re at a festival, on your lunch or in the park this summer, enjoy the sun safely by protecting your skin whatever the weather.”

The findings went on to show that one in three Brits spend at least 30 minutes of their lunch-break basking in the sun when the weather’s hot. Out of those who enjoy lunchtime sun, 50% said they didn’t apply SPF, which raises concerns around daily sun safety as we head into summer.

Those aged 18-24 years appear to be the worst offenders. Over half of this age group admitted they spent sunny lunch breaks sat in the sun, but just 15 per cent said they applied SPF to protect their skin when exposed to sunshine.

The study also found that men are far less clued up about how to be safe in the sun. Over 34 per cent said they wouldn’t wear SPF to protect their skin when sunbathing in the UK. Whilst a huge 86 per cent of men and women stated they felt healthier and happier with a tan.

And that is just at home.

Over a fifth of the British public said they feel under pressure to return from holiday with a golden glow, despite admitting they find sunbathing uninteresting. Northern Ireland was the region that felt the most pressure to be tanned after holiday. Nearly 40% of those surveyed said that they ‘needed’ to return from holiday with a golden glow.

But the dangers of unprotected sun exposure go far beyond looking pale after holidaying. In addition to the superficial implications such as wrinkles, sagging and pigmentation there are far more serious problems to worry about such as skin cancers.

So what can you do?

• Say ‘no’ to sunbeds

• Avoiding the summer sun between 11am and 3pm

• Cover up with light clothes and sunhats

And perhaps the easiest thing we can all do to stay safe in the sun? Wear a good SPF. Years ago nearly all daily moisturisers contained SPF, however that has dramatically dropped now with only 18 per cent of the most popular daily moisturisers containing SPF.

French brand Avene has a range of daily moisturisers for all types of skin, which contain at least SPF 20. So by applying first thing as part of your daily routine you can make an important and educated step towards being safe in the sun this summer.

Sun Awareness Week starts on April 30th 2012.