There are many myths about sun protection floating around. To keep you and your family safe this summer, we’ve dispelled five of the most common stories, rumours and fanciful claims that we’ve heard through the grapevine.
Myth 1: You can’t get sunburnt on cloudy or cool days.
You can – it’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation, not heat that causes sunburn and is the major cause of skin cancer. UV rays can be high when the temperature is low, and it can even penetrate cloud, so don’t wait for a sunny, hot day to protect your skin.
Myth 2: Only sunbathers get skin cancer.
Many people get sunburnt when they’re not seeking a tan. In Victoria we can be exposed to high UV levels during many routine activities, e.g. working outdoors, gardening, or exercising.
Myth 3: If you tan without burning, you don’t need sun protection.
It’s a sign of sun damage if your skin turns brown, even if there’s no redness or peeling. It’s your skin’s way of protecting its living cells from UV damage.
Myth 4: If you were sunburnt as a child, it’s too late to protect your skin now.
UV damage in your first 10 years doubles your lifetime risk of melanoma, but damage later in life counts too. Now is the time to make that change and protect your skin from further damage.
Myth 5: If you wear SPF50, you can stay in the sun longer than with SPF30.
SPF30 and SPF50 sunscreens offer very similar protection when applied correctly, and neither should be used to extend your time in the sun. Remember no sunscreen is a suit of armour – for the best level of protection add clothing, a hat, sunnies and shade.
Don’t get caught out! Unlike the sun’s light or heat, you cannot see or feel UV, so check the sun protection times to find out when you need to protect your skin.
Check sun protection times on the free SunSmart app.