In a report published today by researchers, it is said that 90% of people between the ages of ten and seventeen have had a sunburn at least once in their lives.
Dr Helen McAvoy of the Institute of Public Health said that people who get sunburn as children may get skin cancer when they are older.
She suggested that skin does not heal after the sun has burned and that prevention is better than cure.
Sun anointing should be rubbed into the skin well and a broad-leaf hat is worn when the sun is shining, she said.
Dr McAvoy said the National Cancer Registry estimates that there will be twice as many cases of breast cancer in Ireland over the next 25 years.
Melanoma affects 1,100 people every year in this country, which is the most serious type of breast cancer.
There are also 11,000 new cases of other types of skin cancer each year.