Michelle Collins leads celebrities backing campaign to help disadvantaged children get free sun cream

Celebrities are backing a scheme that will see disadvantaged primary school children get free bottles of high factor sun cream for the third year in-a-row.

30,000 bottles of HPF lotion will be handed out via London food and beauty banks for children on free school meals to use over the summer holidays through the Sun Poverty campaign.

Research says major sun exposure in childhood is the single most important risk factor for contracting life-threatening Melanoma and blistering sunburn doubles the chance of developing skin cancer as an adult with 80% of total lifetime sun exposure taking place before the age of 18 years.

Skin cancer is the fastest growing cancer in the UK and according to Cancer Research UK, there were 12,000 new cases of skin cancer in 2020, and incidence rates are now 27 in 100,000 which is 140 percent higher than skin cancer rates in the early 90s.

Actress Michelle Collins, 60, is a mum of one and lost her own mother to skin cancer in 2021.

Sharing a video online, the former EastEnders and Coronation Street star was emotional as she paid tribute to her late parent while highlighting the importance of this year’s campaign.

“I have first-hand experience of this because my mother was diagnosed with terminal skin cancer, and sadly a few years later she passed away,” she said.

As she spoke, Collins took a deep breath and looked up towards the ceiling to compose herself, and then continued: “So I know how important it is to wear an SPF.”

Urging how “prevention is so much better than a cure,” she encouraged parents to make sure their children were using high factor sun cream “to protect them from the harmful UV rays.”

The initiative is being organised by online beauty retailer Escentual, who are also campaigning for the government to drop VAT on children’s sun cream.

As a further part of their commitment, they have created educational comics for teachers across the UK to download and use to help teach children about good sun habits.

Steps singer Faye Tozer, who is the mum of a teenager said: “The fact that 80% of sun damage happens before age 18 shocked me; I have a son who I ensure is always protected against the sun, but not all families can afford sunscreen. Sun protection shouldn’t be a luxury!”

Strictly Come Dancing judge and mum-of-one Shirley Ballas agreed: “It’s so important that kids are protected from the sun and all families should have access to high factor suncream.”

Find out more at escentual.com/escentual/sun-poverty/