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4 in 5 Australians don’t apply enough sunscreen – are you one of them?

Wednesday 13 February, 2019

Slip, slop, slap, seek and slide.

Many Australians will use sun protection on the hottest days of summer but forget that it’s UV, not heat, that leads to skin cancer. UV rays are sneaky – we cannot see or feel them.

Perhaps this is why 80% of Australians don’t apply sunscreen correctly, leaving them surprised and even embarrassed when their faces turn pink after enjoying time outside.

It’s important to remember that every bit of UV overexposure adds up and contributes to your risk of skin cancer; so, we’re here to help you slop on your sunscreen with confidence and avoid getting caught out.

How much should I use?

Use a generous amount of sunscreen. The average-sized adult should apply a teaspoon of sunscreen (about 5 ml) to each arm, each leg, the front and back of your body, and the face/neck (including ears).

That is 35 ml of sunscreen for one full body application, for an average-sized adult. You should apply sunscreen to all skin which is not covered by clothing. Check out the sunscreen calculator on the free SunSmart app – and work out how much sunscreen you’ll need based on your outfit!

When should I apply?

Thanks to our SunSmart app, you never need to worry about UV rays deceiving you again. Download the app to get daily protection times and UV levels for your location, or alternatively check out the SunSmart and Bureau of Meteorology websites.

Once you know what to expect for the day, plan ahead. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before stepping outside, and again every two hours – even if the bottle advises you differently. The SunSmart app can help you remember to re-apply.

How can I choose the right sunscreen?

There are three things to look out for when choosing your sunscreen – the SPF rating, broad-spectrum certification and its use-by date.

Choose a rating of SPF30 or SPF50 will filter over 96% of UV radiation. Broad-spectrum indicates that both types of UV will be filtered – UVA and UVB. Ensure your sunscreen is effective by checking its expiry date and store it below 30 degrees Celsius.

Sunscreen is very effective when applied correctly – however it is not a suit of armour, so make sure to include protective clothing, a hat, shade and sunglasses in your sun-protection toolkit.

Protect yourself against UV damage in 5 ways.

Cancer Council’s iconic SunSmart program has led to declining or stabilising rates of melanoma in Victorians under the age of 60, and currently, the school and early childhood program is keeping two million Australian kids protected from harmful UV rays.

However, when it comes to applying sunscreen correctly, the message is yet to sink in.

Nearly 3,000 Victorians are diagnosed with skin cancer each year, but applying sunscreen correctly will reduce your risk of becoming one of them.

Finish out this summer safely and avoid getting caught out in Australia’s high UV conditions.