Tuesday 28 November 2023




Skcin are proud to support SNP MP Amy Callaghan with her on-going VAT Burn Campaign as she warns that cases of melanoma skin cancer will continue on an “upwards trajectory” if the UK government fails to remove VAT on sunscreen products. 


Continuing her sun safety public-awareness campaign today (Tuesday, 28 November), Amy Callaghan MP – a skin cancer survivor – has written to the Prime Minister, urging him to make high-factor sunscreen more accessible. 


Ms Callaghan has said cases of melanoma have more than doubled in the last twenty-five years, with 17,000 new cases and 2,300 deaths each year. 


In the letter, organised by the MP for East Dunbartonshire, the signatories pointed to research showing 67% of people would use sunscreen more if it was 20% cheaper. 


They also rebutted claims by the UK Treasury that sunscreen is already available on prescription for people with certain medical conditions, arguing that this provision is “extremely limited” and “does not include melanoma patients”.


It is estimated that the treatment of skin cancer costs the NHS more than £500 million a year across the UK, while the cost of removing VAT from sunscreen could be as little as £60 million. 


Commenting, Amy Callaghan MP said:


“With every day the UK government refuses to act, more people are diagnosed with melanoma. 


“It is now one of the most lethal cancers for people aged between 15 and 34, and the number of cases are expected to hit almost 20,000 by 2025.


“I know first-hand how devastating it is to receive a melanoma diagnosis, and it’s even more tragic because this horrific disease is almost entirely preventable by staying safe in the sun.


“But we know from polling that most people think sunscreen is too expensive, and they would use it more if it was cheaper.


“That is why everyone who has signed this letter is calling on the UK government to remove VAT from sunscreen, and to launch a public-awareness campaign like Australia’s successful ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’. 


“With treasury ministers refusing to even entertain the idea, it’s time for the Prime Minister to step in and do the right thing, make sunscreen exempt from VAT, and ultimately save lives.”


Marie Tudor, CEO, SKCIN commented:


“SKCIN fully support Amy Callaghan’s VAT Burn campaign and as a charity that represents all skin cancers, we believe it’s important that Government also recognises the impact of non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). Over 250,000 cases of NMSC are diagnosed annually, affecting almost a quarter of the UK population in their lifetime. Collectively, skin cancer is more commonly diagnosed than all other malignancies combined and this not only accounts for a significant proportion of the estimated cost, but due to the sheer volume of cases, it places a huge resourcing burden on the NHS. 


As cases continue to rise to epidemic proportions, it is evident that urgent action is required to tackle this major public health concern and making sunscreen more affordable is a step in the right direction. However, as specialists in this field, it is vital this step is backed by educational intervention - to not only evoke behavioural change, but to improve patient outcomes through early diagnosis.”



Notes for Editors:

‘Skin cancer: the problems and facts’ - https://www.skcin.org/skinCancerInformation/theProblemAndFacts.htm

‘Concerns that cost of sunscreen is increasing skin cancer risk’ - https://melanomafocus.org/news-blog/concerns-that-cost-of-sunscreen-is-increasing-skin-cancer-risk/

‘Market value of sun preparations in Great Britain from 2010 to 2022’ - https://www.statista.com/statistics/474683/market-value-sun-care-products-great-britain-uk/#:~:text=As%20of%20December%202022%2C%20the,increase%20on%20the%20previous%20year

Amy Callaghan MP campaign can be viewed here.

Thursday 22 June 2023


SKCIN are delighted to highlight a positive initiative by New College Lanarkshire in Motherwell. The college is supporting the charity’s work through a powerful collaboration that aims to help combat the rising incidence of skin cancer in Scotland. 


The Department of Beauty, Aesthetics and Hair design, New College Lanarkshire has shown its commitment to SKCIN by funding over 100 training courses for their students and staff across three sites. Staff and students from the college have been undertaking SKCIN's MASCED (Melanoma and Skin Cancer Early Detection) training programme - developed by the charity to harness the power of hair, health and beauty industry professionals in their unique capacity to provide trusted advice and signposting. 


The bespoke programme teaches professionals working across and entering these industries how to spot the early signs of pre-cancerous skin lesions, non-melanoma skin cancer and melanoma on their client’s skin and how to confidently signpost clients with concerns - aiding in the prevention and early diagnosis of skin cancer, which is key to combatting the disease and saving lives. 


SKCIN developed the training in 2017 after becoming increasingly aware of the gap in education of the topic and identifying the immense impact that could be made by educating this vast and hugely influential sector. 


Skin Cancer is the UK’s most common and fastest rising cancer with recent figures highlighting that 1 in 4 males and 1 in 5 females will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime. Yet, 90% of cases are preventable and if detected, diagnosed early – almost all cases are treatable or curable. 


Professionals either working in or entering the hair, health and beauty industry sectors are all perfectly placed to undertake skin cancer surveillance and provide professional advice as part of their everyday engagement with clients - helping to combat these statistics head on. 


Since its official launch the MASCED training programme has received over 19,000 registrations and fully accredited over 10,000 professionals across the UK and worldwide. The training has been reviewed by professional dermatologists, is CPD accredited by Habia (Hair and Beauty Industry Authority) and is supported by many key industry bodies such as; BABTAC (British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetologists); NHBF (National Hair and Beauty Federation); the BBC (British Beauty Council); FHT (Federation of Holistic Therapists) who recognise the importance of the training programme and the value it adds to the communities in which professionals operate. 


Marie Tudor, CEO of SKCIN commented: 


“We are hugely grateful to New College Lanarkshire for taking the initiative to fund this training for staff and students. Their commitment to support this life-saving training needs to be applauded and highlights not only the important role professionals working in this sector have, but how via collaboration we can make significant impact in combatting the rising incidence of skin cancer and saving lives. The early detection of skin cancer is vital to improve patient prognosis, and with so many reports of early detection as a result of this ground-breaking intervention – the training is certainly living up to it’s strap line – ‘Training Eyes to Save Lives’. 


In 2024 we aim to expand our partnership with New College Lanarkshire to deliver a number of initiatives including their staff becoming Ambassadors for the charity with the mission to engage more educational settings to follow this fantastic lead.” 



Jane Crowe, NCL Head of Department Beauty, Aesthetics and Hair Design said: 


“The MASCED accreditation course has been extremely informative for both staff and students. It's crucial to equip individuals with the necessary knowledge and skills to identify potential signs of skin cancer. This training, not only enhances professional expertise but also empowers staff and student to make a difference in people's lives by promoting early detection and encourage their clients to seek medical attention. 


We look forward to expanding our partnership and working in collaboration with MASCED. As Ambassadors we will have the privilege in helping create a strong network of informed professional who can contribute to early detection, raising awareness and encouraging others to follow suit.”