Nearly three quarters of students have never been encouraged to wear sun cream before a PE or sport's lesson at secondary school, a cancer charity warned.
According to a survey for the Teenage Cancer Trust, 70 per cent of students said their teachers never reminded them to slap on the sun cream before a sports lesson, even though 83 per cent said they would have done so if they were asked.
The charity called for sports teachers, coaches, schools and clubs to take more responsibility for young people's health in the sun, as part of its annual sun safety campaign, Shunburn.
The call comes on the back of the latest cancer incidence statistics showing that malignant melanoma, the most deadly type of skin cancer, is the most common cancer in young women aged between 15 and 24 years old.
The survey of more than 1,000 young people also found that more than half (54%) of 13 to 24-year-olds never apply sun cream or cover up for sport. Of these, 35 per cent said they had forgotten to do so, while a fifth (22%) said they thought hats were uncool and looked silly. A majority of those questioned said they would never wear a hat whilst playing sport (67%).
Simon Davies, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust said: "With everyone's focus on sport this summer, we need schools and clubs to help us educate young people to take care of their skin in the sun."
Rona MacKie, a professor of dermatology at the University of Glasgow said: "We know that it is the damage done to skin when young that can increase your chance of developing skin cancer in later life.
"Sun safety should be an integral part of young people’s daily routine and sports teachers and coaches need to play a part in advocating this."
England rugby captain Chris Robshaw also added: "Rugby is my passion and whether it's raining or a heatwave, I'm outside training or playing. I always apply sun cream as it could affect my health and my performance on the pitch if I don't. Plus being burnt is just not a good look!"