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Does my sunburn look good in this? Protect your skin during Cup Week

Friday 30 October, 2009

With Spring Racing Carnival in full swing, Victorians are being urged to plan their race outfits with sun protection in mind.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels are already high in Victoria so now is the time to protect yourself from overexposure to UV.

"It is not temperature or sunshine that counts, it is the UV level," SunSmart Manager Sue Heward said. "When UV is at 3 and above it can cause skin and eye damage, sunburn and skin cancer."

"Despite our recent cooler and cloudy conditions, UV levels are reaching 7 - 8 in Victoria, which is high to very high. It can take as little as 17 minutes to get the first signs of sunburn."

Ms Heward said preparation for the races for some people includes getting a tan.

"Both sunburn and tanning are a sign of your skin cells in trauma," she said. "If you must have a tan, use a fake tanning product rather than sunbaking or using a solarium. In fact, using solariums before the age of 35 boosts your risk of melanoma by 75 percent."

"And remember that a fake tan doesn't offer any sun protection."

Ms Heward urged people to get into the habit of checking the SunSmart UV Alert before heading out each day.

"The SunSmart UV Alert tells you the times of day when sun protection is most important and when you can get some UV to help maintain vitamin D levels," she said.

SunSmart tips for Melbourne Cup Week:

  • A wide brimmed hat provides good protection for your face and neck.
  • When choosing your race day outfit, consider a style that covers as much of your skin as possible.
  • Apply 30+ broad spectrum sunscreen and reapply every two hours. Don't use sunscreen to extend your time in the sun.
  • Sunglasses are a great fashion accessory and protect your eyes from sun damage. Make sure they meet Australian Standards.
  • Seek shade indoors, under an umbrella or marquee during peak UV times (11am to 3pm).

Find the SunSmart UV Alert in the weather section of daily newspapers, on the Bureau of Meteorology website www.bom.gov.au/weather/uv/ or at www.sunsmart.com.au. Live UV levels for Melbourne are at www.arpansa.gov.au/uvindex.