Firstly, try to minimise your time in the sun between 10am and 3pm. If you do need to be out in the sun, wear dark-coloured, close-weave clothing to stop UVR from penetrating the fabric. Wear a broad-brimmed, bucket or legionnaire style hat, and don’t forget to protect your eyes with wraparound sunglasses. Try to stay in the shade as much as possible.
You should ensure your sunscreen will protect you from both UVA and UVB radiation. This means using a broad-spectrum sunscreen. No matter what the stated SPF rating, no sunscreen provides 100% protection against UV radiation and some UV radiation will always reach the skin. Using SPF30+ sunscreen means you are protected from about 96.7% of ultraviolet radiation. The amount of UV radiation transmitted to the skin increases as the length of exposure time increases.
Giles P, Homes G. The effective use of sunscreens. Cancer Update in Practice. The Cancer Society of New Zealand January 2003.
SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. It is a measure of the level of protection against sunburn that sunscreen provides. The higher the SPF, the better the protection from ultraviolet radiation. The maximum SPF of sunscreens sold in Australia is 50+.
Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. Resource Guide for UVR Protective Products. Commonwealth Department of Health and Aging, 1999.
Sunscreen provides a screen or filter from the sun’s rays. Sunscreen does not provide 100 percent protection from ultraviolet radiation.
Sunscreen should never be used to deliberately increase the amount of time you spend in the sun. Damage from exposure to UVR is cumulative, meaning the more you are out in the sun, the more likely you are develop skin cancer or other skin damage. In all instances, you should try to limit your exposure to UVR by minimising your time in the sun.
UVB radiation penetrates the top layer of skin and is the main cause of sunburn.
Sunscreen should to applied to clean, dry skin at least 15 minutes before going outside. Apply sunscreen liberally every two hours, or more frequently if you are sweating, swimming or it has been wiped off. To apply liberally means about a teaspoon per limb. It is also important to keep a thin film of sunscreen on your skin to maximise its effectiveness, so resist the temptation to rub it all in.
- Apply sunscreen to clean dry skin at least 15 minutes before sun exposure.
- Make sure you apply enough sunscreen. Invisible Zinc® recommends an average adult applies at least one teaspoon for each arm, leg, back, torso and face/neck.
- Remember to reapply sunscreen every 2 hours, or more often if you are exercising, swimming or towelling.
- Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and wear protective clothing, hats and eyewear.