Swansea University is aiming to tackle the perception of tanning amongst young people in a bid to help reduce skin cancer.

The university is leading a project, SunChat, that examines the attitudes of children, their caregivers, and educators towards tanning.

The findings from this study will be used to develop a new sun-safety educational toolkit for the Welsh curriculum.

Skin cancer accounts for half of all cancers in England and Wales, yet 86 per cent of melanomas could be prevented with safer sun exposure.

Despite warnings not to intentionally sunbathe, positive views of tanned skin persist amongst the public, including children.

Health and cancer specialists have reiterated that there's no 'safe tan', emphasising the need to debunk this myth.

No prior research has been done in Wales to assess children, their caregivers and educators' opinions on tanning and how healthier perspectives could be nurtured from a young age.

SunChat is seeking to fill this gap, using existing channels and school collaborators to conduct workshops with schoolchildren, an online survey with parents and caregivers, and an online focus group with educators.

Dr Julie Peconi of Swansea University Medical School, one of SunChat's lead researchers, said: "We know that overexposure to the sun as a child greatly increases the risk of skin cancer in later life, making early and accessible sun safety education and promotion of sun-safe behaviours key.

"Through SunChat, we hope to raise awareness of the importance of challenging and changing the common assumption that having a tan is desirable."

More information about SunChat has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.