To the surprise of most people ultraviolet radiation (UV) starts to rise rapidly in spring so it is important not to get caught out and go to the races well prepared.
"When we are talking about sunburn it is not temperature or sunshine that counts, it is the UV level," SunSmart Manager Sue Heward said. "When the UV level is 3 and above it can cause skin and eye damage (through getting sunburnt and a tan) and ultimately skin cancer."
"Despite the cool and cloudy conditions, UV levels are likely to reach 7 - 8 in Victoria in spring, which is high to very high. It can take under 20 minutes to get the first signs of sunburn."
Recent research by Cancer Council Victoria shows that tanning is still popular among young people with 53% of 13-34 year olds desiring a tan.
"It is important to remember that there is no such thing as a 'safe' tan. Sunburn and tanning are not signs of good health - they are signs of your skin cells in trauma," said Ms Heward.
"If people must have a tan they should use a fake tanning product rather than sunbaking or using a solarium but remember that sun protection is still required," said Ms Heward.
A solarium tan is not 'safer' than tanning in the sun. Solariums can emit UV radiation up to three times as strong as the midday summer sun. Further, people who use a solarium before the age of 35 have a 75% greater risk of melanoma than those who don't use solariums.
"Stick with a sure thing this Spring Carnival and bet on slip, slop, slap, seek and slide on race day," she said.
Check the daily UV level before heading to the races and the time of the day that sun protection is required. Remember to:
The SunSmart UV Alert is available at sunsmart.com.au, in the weather section of daily newspapers and on the Bureau of Meteorology website www.bom.gov.au/weather/uv/. Live UV levels for Melbourne are at www.arpansa.gov.au/uvindex.