This week is Skin Cancer Action Awareness Week and with the weather heating up outside we believe it’s a good time to refresh our sun safety tips.
Every year in Australia skin cancer accounts for around 80% of all newly diagnosed cancers. However, more than 95% of skin cancer cases are caused by unprotected exposure to UV radiation from the sun, meaning it is a nearly entirely preventable cancer.
We’ve all heard the saying ‘slip, slop, slap’ and it’s still as relevant as ever. Protection from UV rays is important throughout the year, even on cloudy days. So be sure to do the following to protect yourself:
1. Stay in the shade, when possible.
Shade is key to avoiding exposure to harmful UV rays. The UV radiation is strongest between 10am-2pm, or during daylight savings from 11am-3pm. During this period of time, it’s best to plan to be in shade if possible. It might be a good idea to purchase a beach umbrella or tent for days spent at the beach or park.
You can check the sun protection times for your local area by using:
- the free SunSmart app
- the Bureau of Meteorology website
- the weather section of daily newspapers
- the SunSmart UV alert.
2. Wear a hat.
Wear a broad brimmed hat that shades your whole head, including face, neck and ears. If you are wearing a straw hat ensure that the straw is tightly woven to avoid tiny holes of sunlight passing through to your skin.
3. Always wear Sunscreen.
Ensure you are always wearing sunscreen with a sun protection factor of at least SPF 30. 85% of Australians do not apply enough sunscreen. You should always:
- Use at least 7 teaspoons of sunscreen.
- Generously apply it 20 minutes before you go outdoors.
- Reapply every two hours.
- If you are in and out of the water, apply more frequently.
4. Book a Skin Check.
Get your skin checked regularly. If you notice differences, book an appointment with your doctor immediately.
5. Wear protective clothing.
Clothing creates an important barrier between your skin and UV. Always opt for longer clothing to cover your arms and legs when in the sun. Loose-fitting clothing will keep you cool when it’s hot outside, but they also often provide greater sun protection too. Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from harmful rays.
The Cancer Council have some more great resources for preventing skin cancers, including this one: