Summer sun is beloved because it provides us with the opportunity to spend more time outdoors doing the things we love. However, sun damage can lead to premature aging of the skin, wrinkles, marks, dry skin, and even skin cancer over time.
During summer in Australia, all States experience long periods during the day when the UV Index is 3 or above. During these periods, a combination of sun protection measures (broad brimmed hat, covering clothing, sunscreen, sunglasses and shade) is recommended when outdoors for more than a few minutes.
The best way to avoid sun damage is to block harmful rays when you're out during the day; even during cloudy days use sun protection. Sun rays can penetrate light clouds, mist, and fog.
We can protect ourselves in five ways from skin cancer during sun protection times:
- Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.
- Slop on SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Reapply every two hours when outdoors or more often if perspiring or swimming.
- Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on sunglasses.
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun doesn’t just damage the skin. It can lead to eye complaints such as cataracts and cancers on the surface of the eye. As a result eye protection is as important as skin protection from the sun.
Fake tan can be an option: Fake tans provide a safer alternative to sunbathing and solarium use. However the Cancer Council is concerned that some people who use them mistakenly believe their tan will protect them against ultraviolet radiation. As a result, they may not take appropriate sun protection measures, putting them at greater risk of skin cancer.
Do not use Solariums: Exposure to ultraviolet radiation through the use of sunbeds, or solariums, significantly increases the risk of developing melanoma. Solariums emit UV radiation levels up to six times higher than the midday summer sun.
Do not forget sun protection for infants (0-12 months): Babies’ delicate skin makes them particularly susceptible to sun damage. Current evidence suggests that childhood sun exposure makes an important contribution to the lifetime risk of skin cancer. Parents should protect infants from harmful ultraviolet radiation from the day they are born. Direct sunlight is not recommended to treat nappy rash and jaundice.
Have sun protection in the workplace: Outdoor workers have a higher risk of certain kinds of non-melanoma skin cancer because they often spend long periods of time in the sun, all year round, over many years of working life.
You also can benefit from Tinted windows: Clear or tinted films applied to car windows can substantially reduce the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that is transmitted into the vehicle.