Live Better
 
 

Sun safety: How to protect your skin this summer

Keep your skin safe and healthy while you're enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

We instinctively do so many things to keep ourselves safe and healthy. Clipping on our seatbelts before driving, strapping on a helmet before going for a bike ride, wearing protective mitts before handling something hot and brushing our teeth to keep them free from tooth decay.

But what about the largest organ of the body – our skin?

Ultraviolet radiation (UVA and UVB) is a danger that you can’t see or feel. Whether you’re enjoying a day at the beach, a BBQ with family and friends or a game of cricket, any time you go outside your skin is vulnerable. These harmful rays can cause unhealthy-looking, blotchy, wrinkled skin. And they have rocketed Australia to the unenviable position of number one skin cancer country in the world.

On average almost one person every minute will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer and more than one person an hour will develop the most deadly form of skin cancer – melanoma.

So how can we have fun in the sun and still protect our skin?

Wide brimmed hat and sunglasses

Sun safety: the facts

We all need daily sun protection. But first, we need to remember a few simple facts about sun safety:

  • Sun safety isn’t just for sunny days. Even on a cloudy day, all of the sun’s ultraviolet rays are present and damaging your skin.
  • Ultraviolet rays reflect off surfaces such as water, sand and grass, trying to sneak through your skin’s defences.
  • Sun damage adds up over time. Up to 80% of lifetime exposure occurring in the first 20 years of life.
  • Keeping in the shade is just one step. Sitting out of the direct sun or wearing a wide brimmed hat provides less than total protection against ultraviolet radiation.
  • There is no such thing as a safe tan. Your health matters more than looking tanned.

“Almost one person every minute will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer.”

How to protect your skin

Total skin protection in the sun is a package deal, often referred to as the five S’s:

1. Slip on sun protective clothing. Look for clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) of 50+ which is the maximum.

2. Slop on the sunscreen. An SPF 30+ broad-spectrum sunscreen, reapplied every 2 hours when outdoors and after swimming. For children and those with sensitive skin look for a chemical free sunscreen (zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide).

3. Slap on a wide brimmed hat.

4. Seek shade. 80% of total ultraviolet radiation during summer is received between 10.00am – 3.00pm so this is the main time of the day to seek shade.

5. Slide on a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Look for Australian Standard AS1067 for maximum protection.

Visit Cancer Council Australia for more sun smart advice. 

 

Recommended Reading

When diabetes leads to emotional distress

A recent report reveals the emotional impact of diabetes.

Read more

9 tips to make training your dog easy

Veterinarian Dr Amanda Chin shares her secrets.

Read more

Mental health services in Australia

Where to get support when your studying in Australia

Read more

Does your pet have separation anxiety?

Here are the warning signs – and how you can help.

Read more

Quit smoking the smart way

Give yourself the best chance of success

Read more

Pancreatic cancer: What you need to know

Professor David Thomas explains the facts you need to know.

Read more

Natural secrets for clear, healthy skin

Nutritionist Samantha Sargent shares some tips.

Read more

Anxiety explained

Learn more about anxiety

Read more