Sun protection Information
Smart fun in the sun
The warm weather is here!
Time to get outside and enjoy the beach, picnics, barbeques, alfresco parties and outdoor sports.
Before you head out, be sure to protect yourself and your family from UV exposure. Cancer Council Australia offers the following advice.
For best protection, Cancer Council recommends a combination of sun protection measures:
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
- Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
When to apply sun screen
When the UV index is 3 or higher, sun protection measures should be taken.
The daily UV index can be found at www.cancer.org.au/preventing-cancer/sun-protection/uv-alert/ or www.bom.gov.au/australia/uv/ or you can download the free SunSmart App for iPhone and Android from the App store.
Ultraviolet (UV) rays explained
The sun’s rays are comprised of different ultraviolet (UV) rays:
- UVA rays contribute to skin ageing and can cause skin cancer.
- UVB rays cause sunburn and add to skin cancer risk.
Cancer Council’s New SPF 50+ sunscreens offer:
- Slightly higher protection against UVB rays to help reduce risk of sunburn and skin damage.
- Higher protection against UVA rays to help reduce skin ageing.
Although SPF50+ sunscreen offers marginally better protection than SPF30+, application is still the key.
When: Apply at least 20 minutes before sun exposure.
How much: A teaspoon of sunscreen (5ml) per limb is the right amount. A full body application is equal to 35ml of sunscreen.
Re-apply: Every two hours, or after swimming, toweling dry or exercise.
Sun protection and babies
Evidence suggests that childhood sun exposure contributes significantly to your lifetime risk of skin cancer. Cancer Council Australia recommends keeping babies out of the sun as much as possible for the first 12 months.
Where this is not possible, parents and carers should minimise exposure by:
- Planning the day’s activities outside the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense.
- Cover as much skin as possible with loose fitting clothes and wraps made from closely woven fabrics.
- Choosing a hat that protects the baby’s face, neck and ears.
- Make use of available shade or create shade for the pram, stroller or play area. The material should cast a dark shadow. They baby will still need to be protected from scattered and reflected UV radiation.
- Keep an eye on the baby’s clothing, hat and shade to ensure they continue to be well-protected.
- Apply a broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen to small areas of the skin that cannot be protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, neck and hands, remembering to reapply the sunscreen every two hours or more often it is wiped or washed off.
There is no evidence that using sunscreen on babies is harmful, although some babies may develop minor skin irritation. Try sunscreen milks or creams for sensitive skin, which are less likely to irritate the skin.
As with all products, use of any sunscreen should cease if any unusual reaction occurs.