Protect yourself in five ways from skin cancer
Sunscreen is not a suit of armour – how to be SunSmart
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. The major cause of skin cancer is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. You can prevent damage – and skin cancer – by being SunSmart.
Sunscreen is just one of five ways of reducing the risk of skin cancer. For the best protection, use all five SunSmart steps:
1. Slip on protective clothing
2. Slop on SPF 30 or higher sunscreen
Cancer Council recommends using sunscreen every day when the UV index is forecast to be 3 or above. Sunscreen should be incorporated into your daily morning routine on these days.
No sunscreen provides 100% UV protection – remember to use in combination with protective clothing, hats and sunglasses. Re-apply at least every 2 hours while you are outside.
Look for a sunscreen that:
3. Slap on a hat
Slap on a hat that provides as much shade as possible to your face, head, neck, ears and eyes.
There are three main styles of hats that provide adequate sun protection:
Baseball caps and visors are not recommended as they leave the ears and the back of the neck exposed.
4. Seek shade
Staying in the shade is one of the most effective ways to reduce sun exposure, but remember:
5. Slide on some sunglasses
Sunglasses can protect your eyes against UV radiation. When choosing sunglasses look for:
When to use sun protection
The best way to know when you need to use sun protection is to use the UV Index. The UV Index is a simple measure of the UV radiation level at the Earth’s surface. The values of the Index range from zero upward and the higher the Index value, the greater the potential for damage to the skin and eyes, and the less time it takes for harm to occur.
You need to use sun protection when the UV Index is 3 or above.
A daily UV forecast, including sun protection times, is available for over 600 Australian locations at the Bureau of Meteorology website. One of the quickest and easiest ways to check the UV level at your location is to use the free Cancer Council SunSmart app – remember to change your location on the app if you are travelling.