Did you know that Australia has some of the highest levels of UV radiation in the world?
In fact UV radiation is strong enough to cause sunburn in as little as 10 minutes on a fine January day.We cannot feel ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun and yet it is the major cause of skin cancer.
Your skin remembers all the UV exposure you get. It all adds up and increases your long-term risk of skin cancer. Over 2000 Australians die from skin cancer each year.
It’s estimated that if we reduce our lifetime exposure to UV radiation by just 20%, Australia would have about one third fewer cases of skin cancer.
The UV Index will tell you when the uv radiation is doing you harm. It tells you when to cover up and when you don’t need to bother.
The UV Index
The UV Index is an international standard scale developed by the World Health Organization which measures the amount of UV radiation reaching the Earth’s surface. Put simply, the UV Index measures the sun’s UV intensity and tells you when it is safe to be in the sun unprotected. Sun protection is generally not needed when the UV Index is under 3. Check out the My UV website for more information.
How to protect yourself
Two in three Australians diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70. You can protect yourself in the following ways:
- SLIP on some clothing – Wear clothes that cover your skin as much as possible. Sun protective fabric with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) rating of 50+ blocks more than 97.5% of UVA and UVB radiation and provides the highest level of protection.
- SLOP on sunscreen – Slop on SPF30 or higher sunscreen. Make sure it is broad spectrum and water resistant. Apply over all areas of exposed skin 20 minutes before sun exposure and reapply every two hours or more regularly if you have been swimming or sweating.
- SLAP on a hat – Choose a hat with a brim to provide protection for your face, back of the neck, eyes and ears – the most common areas affected by skin cancer. Caps are not SunSmart, as they do not keep enough sun off your head.
- SLIDE on some sunglasses – Long-term exposure to UV radiation can cause cataracts and cancers of the eye and surrounding skin. Always wear sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard.
- SEEK some shade – The sun’s UV rays are normally strongest in the middle of the day. Aim to seek shade whenever the UV index is 3 or higher . If you can’t stay in the shade, make sure your skin is protected in other ways.