Protecting your skin from the sun
During sun protection times (when UV levels are 3 or above) use a combination of the following measures to protect your skin. Find a way to make sun protection part of your everyday routine – check the UV level forecast, apply sunscreen as part of your morning ritual, keep a broad-brimmed hat and sunscreen within easy reach (such as near the front door or in your bag), and look for shade whenever possible.
Slip on clothingWear clothing that covers your shoulders, neck, arms, legs and body. Choose closely woven fabric or fabric with a high UV protection factor (UPF) rating in a dark colour.
Slop on sunscreenUse an SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Apply 20 minutes before going outdoors and reapply every two hours, or after swimming, sweating or any activity that causes you to rub it off. For an adult, the recommended amount is 1 teaspoon for each arm, each leg, front of body, back of body, and the face, neck and ears – a total of 7 teaspoons of sunscreen for one full body application.
Slap on a hatWear a hat that shades your face, neck and ears. This includes legionnaire, broad-brimmed and bucket hats. Check to make sure the hat meets the Australian Standard. Choose fabric with a close weave that doesn’t let the light through. Baseball caps and sun visors do not offer enough protection.
Slide on sunglassesProtect your eyes with sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard. Wraparound styles are best. Sunglasses should be worn all year round to protect both the eyes and the delicate skin around the eyes.
Seek shadeUse shade from trees, umbrellas, buildings or any type of canopy. UV radiation from the sun is reflective and can bounce off surfaces, such as concrete, water, sand and snow, so shade should never be the only form of sun protection you use. If you can see the sky through the shade, even if the direct sun is blocked, the shade will not completely protect you from UV.
Avoid solariumsDo not use solariums. Also known as tanning beds or sun lamps, solariums give off artificial UV radiation and are banned for commercial use in Australia.
Check sun protection times every dayEach day, use the free SunSmart app to check the recommended sun protection times in your local area. You can also find sun protection times at MyUV, the Bureau of Meteorology (or the BOM Weather app) or in the weather section of daily newspapers.
Podcast for people affected by cancer
A/Prof Stephen Shumack, Dermatologist, Royal North Shore Hospital and The University of Sydney, NSW; Dr Margaret Chua, Radiation Oncologist, Head of Radiation Oncology, Skin and Melanoma, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, VIC; John Clements, Consumer; Aoife Conway, Skin Lead and Radiation Oncology Nurse, GenesisCare, Mater Hospital, NSW; Sandra Donaldson, 13 11 20 Consultant, Cancer Council WA; Kath Lockier, Consumer; Dr Isabel Gonzalez Matheus, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Principal House Officer, Princess Alexandra Hospital, QLD; A/Prof Andrew Miller, Dermatologist, Canberra Hospital, ACT; Dr Helena Rosengren, Chair Research Committee, Skin Cancer College of Australasia, and Medical Director, Skin Repair Skin Cancer Clinic, QLD; Dr Michael Wagels, Staff Specialist Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon, Princess Alexandra Hospital and Surgical Treatment and Rehabilitation Service, and Senior Lecturer, The University of Queensland, QLD; David Woods, Consumer.
View the Cancer Council NSW editorial policy.