Myth busters – the truth about sun protection

Think you know everything there is to know about protecting your skin from the sun and think you’re safe from skin cancer?

Test your knowledge with the following simple myth busters.

You only need to worry about sun protection on hot days! FACT OR MYTH?

Sunburn is caused by UV radiation, not heat. This means you can still get sunburnt on windy and cool days. UV radiation can also pass through some clouds so it’s also possible to get sunburnt on cloudy days. Remember to think UV not heat and protect your skin at all times when working outdoors.

Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun is a workplace hazard in the building and construction industry? FACT OR MYTH

Hazards are anything that may result in injury or harm to the health of a person. Since overexposure to UV radiation from the sun is a known cause of cancer in humans, it is a workplace hazard from which building and construction workers need to be protected when working outdoors.

Sunscreen is the only sun protection you need to use. FACT OR MYTH

No sunscreen is 100% protective. SPF 50 blocks up to 98% of UV radiation. Though, because most people apply far less than is recommended by manufacturers, sunscreen users receive an SPF of between 50-80% less than that specified on the product label. Clothing is one of the best barriers between your skin and the sun. Not only do you know exactly what parts of your body is covered with clothing but you also do not have to worry about reapplying it every two hours or more.

If you tan you don’t need to bother with sun protection. FACT OR MYTH

Even if your skin tans, you need sun protection. If your skin turns brown, it is a sign of sun damage, even if there is no redness or peeling. Your skin turns brown as a way of trying to protect itself because the UV rays are damaging living cells. Even if you tan easily, you’re still at risk of skin cancer and need to use sun protection.

You don’t have to be concerned about skin cancer because if it happens it is easy to treat.

Skin cancer is serious and causes more than 2,000 deaths each year. More people die from skin cancer each year than on our roads. Skin cancer treatment can be much more than having a lesion ‘burnt off’. It can include major surgery, chemotherapy and can result in permanent scarring. Skin cancer can also spread to other parts of your body.

The good news is that skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. Reduce your risk by protecting yourself in 5 ways when working outdoors – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide!

To bust some more sun protection myths visit the Cancer Council WA website and download our 10 myths about sun protection brochure.

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