If you have pale skin, you start to burn within three minutes. SPF 30 in theory protects you for 3 x 30 mins = so 90 minutes protection. SPF50 protects you for 3 x 50 mins = or 150 minutes protection. We’re going to show you 10 myths about sun protection and advice on sunbathing.
10 myths about sun protection:
- Sun damage is not possible on windy, cloudy or cool days.
FALSE You can get sun damage on windy, cloudy and cool days. Sun damage is caused by ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not temperature. A cool or overcast day in summer can have similar UV levels to a warm, sunny day. If it’s windy and you get a red face, it’s likely to be sunburn.
- A fake tan darkens the skin, protecting skin from the sun.
FALSE Fake tanning lotion does not improve your body’s ability to protect itself from the sun, so you will still need sun protection. Some fake tans have an SPF rating. However, this gives very little protection and should not be relied on for continued protection.
- Sunscreen is not necessary when using cosmetics with SPF.
FALSE Unless cosmetics are labelled with an SPF 30 or higher rating, you should wear additional sunscreen under your makeup if you’re going to be in the sun for an extended period.
- People with olive skin are not at risk of skin cancer.
FALSE People with olive skin can get skin cancer too. Regardless of skin type, exposure to UV radiation from the sun and other artificial sources, such as solariums, can cause skin to be permanently damaged. People with skin types that are less likely to burn can still receive enough UV exposure to risk developing skin cancer.
- You can stay out longer in the sun when you are wearing SPF50+ than you can with SPF30+
FALSE No sunscreen is a suit of armour and sunscreen should never be used to extend the amount of time you spend in the sun.
- Plenty of sun exposure is required to avoid vitamin D deficiency.
FALSE Australians shouldn’t expose themselves to potentially harmful UV in order to get more vitamin D. When UV levels are 3 or above, most Australians get enough vitamin D with just a few minutes of sun exposure while completing everyday tasks – like walking to the car or shops.
- You don’t have to be concerned about skin cancer because if it happens you will see it, and it is easy to treat.
FALSE Skin cancer treatment can be much more serious than simply having a lesion ‘burnt off’. It can include surgery, chemotherapy and can result in permanent scarring. Skin cancer can also spread to other parts of your body. Each year, more than 2000 Australians die of skin cancer.
- Only sun seekers get skin cancer.
FALSE Excessive exposure to the sun does not just happen when deliberately seeking a tan. In a high UV environment like Australia, we can be exposed to dangerous levels of UV radiation during all sorts of daily activities, such as working outdoors, gardening, walking the dog or having a picnic
- If you tan but don’t burn, you don’t need to bother with sun protection.
FALSE There’s no such thing as a safe tan. If skin darkens, it is a sign of skin cells in trauma, even if there is no redness or peeling.
- You can’t get burnt in the car through a window.
FALSE You can get burnt through a car window. Untinted glass commonly used in car side windows reduces, but does not completely block transmission of UV radiation.
The do’s and don’ts about enjoying the sun while traveling in Australia:
- Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen (that protects against both UVA and UVB) with at least SPF– or Sun Protection Factor – 30 before going outside and re-apply every two hours, especially after swimming or other outdoor activities.
- Hats are not only fashionable but they also provide good sun protection by creating shade around the face. For an even better protection of your ears and the neck choose wide brim hats.
- Seek shade – this is especially important between 10 am and 4 pm when the UV rays are the strongest. If you need relief from the sun and want to reduce the risk of sun damage, seek shade under an umbrella or a tree. You may want to check the UVI, or UV Index of your area, which is reflecting the levels of UV rays on a given day. Alternatively, you can also apply this simple shadow test: if your shadow is shorter than you, the UV rays are the strongest.
- UV radiation to eyes can be just as dangerous as to the skin. To best protect your eyes wear sunglasses that block UVA and UVB rays.
- As babies and children have more delicate, thinner skin than adults, their risk to get sunburn is even higher. Not to mention that they tend to spend more time outdoors! If your children`s skin burns easily, pay attention to cover them up and use sunscreen. Babies under 6 months should be kept out of direct sunlight and protected from the sun with protective hats and clothing.
- Avoid sun exposure between 11am and 3pm when UV rays are most intense.
- Be aware that some medicines can increase your skin’s risk of UV damage. Check with a health care professional if you are taking medication.