Don’t be burnt – get SunSmart for Spring

Friday 31 August, 2007

With UV levels already reaching a level that can cause skin damage and lead to skin cancer, Victorians are being warned not to leave their sun protection until Summer.

SunSmart's Kylie Strong says in Victoria, sun protection needs to start in Spring.

"Victorians may not realise that now is the time to start using sun protection when they're out and about."

"At the moment the UV index is 3 or above for between two to three hours in the middle of the day, so that's when sun protection is vital."

"Everyone needs to use sun protection when the UV Index reaches 3 or above; so that means a hat, sunscreen; protective clothing, shade and sunglasses."

"Sunburn can occur in a very short time, isn't related to high temperatures and sunny days. Our research shows that people are more likely to get sunburnt when the temperature is between 18 and 27 degrees, and cloudy."

"So we're reminding Victorians that if they want to enjoy a Spring without sunburn, now is the time to get your hats, sunglasses and sunscreen out again."

"Skin cancer affects many Victorians; about 400 Victorians die from skin cancer each year, and many more will be diagnosed with a skin cancer at some time in their life."

"Almost 95% of skin cancer can be prevented, so it's important that Victorians start using sun protection now that the UV Index has reached levels that can damage skin."

It's easy to check the UV Index each day. The SunSmart UV Alert appears when the UV Index reaches 3 or above. You can find it on the weather page of daily newspapers, or on the Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au (do a search for ‘UV Alert').

When the UV Index is 3 or above, use a combination of the following five sun protection measures

  1. Slip on sun-protective clothing - that covers as much skin as possible
  2. Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen - make sure it is broad spectrum and water resistant. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
  3. Slap on a hat - that protects your face, head, neck and ears
  4. Seek shade
  5. Slide on some sunglasses - make sure they meet Australian Standards'.

Particular care should be taken between 10 am and 2 pm (11 am and 3 pm daylight saving time) when UV Index levels reach their peak.