Over exposure to Ultra Violet Radiation (UVR) from the sun over many years is the major cause of skin cancer. Even if exposure does not cause obvious sunburns, damage still occurs and accumulates over the years. You should protect your skin.
Below you will find tips and advice on how to sun safe in the New Zealand sun. All information comes from Cancer Society.
Cover up or find shade.
Don’t rely on sunscreen as your primary of only form of sun protection. Wear sun glasses, wear sunscreen on uncovered skin and bring a shade umbrella or find a shady tree to sit under for the middle part of the day.
Minimise time spent in the full sun between 11am and 4pm from early October to late March.
Use 35ml sunscreen for a full body application of sunscreen
Use a generous amount of sunscreen (SPF30+ recommended). The average sized adult should apply at least a teaspoon of sunscreen to each arm, leg, front of body and back of body and at least ½ a teaspoon to the face (including the ears and neck). That is 35 ml of sunscreen for one full body application.
Don't forget to reapply your sunscreen if you have been swimming and allow time for it to soak in before swimming again. Children should have an adult do their sunscreen so as to make sure they are fully protected.
Protection head, face and neck
Baseball caps and sun visors are not recommended to protect you from sun. They leave ears and back of the neck exposed. Rather wear a broad brimmed hat. The brim should be at least 7.5cm. A broad rimmed hat that provides good shade can considerably reduce UVR exposure to the face.
Reflected Ultra Violet Radiation (UVR).
UVR is reflected off surrounding surfaces, such as white sand and water. In order to absorb and diffuse UVR, surrounding surfaces should be soft and rough. Grass and plants do this well.
Normal window glass offers little protection from Ultra Violet Radiation
Apply sunscreen 15 minutes before sun exposure to allow it time to dry and be absorbed into the skin
Sun Protection Factor (SPF) from sunscreen
The SPF number from sunscreens is a ranking system that shows how much protection is being offered The higher the number, the more UVR is filtered and the greater the protection. Because of the number of factors involved, (e.g. time of the year, time of day and skin type) the SPF is not precise, but gives a general guide to sun protection.
No matter how high the SPF rating, no sunscreen can screen all UVR. All sunscreens are filters allowing some UVR to pass through to the skin. The higher the SPF, the smaller the amount of UVR that gets through.
- UPF15 to 24 offers good protection
- UPF25 to 39 offers very good protection
- UPF40 to 50+ offers excellent protection