The sun might feel lovely for a few minutes when it warms your skin, but we really need to wise up about sun exposure.
In New Zealand and Australia we have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world and the UV rays are 37% stronger than the rest of the world. Put simply, our sun is fierce and we need to take sun safety seriously.
So when you’re heading outdoors remember the following:
- Sunscreen is an essential part of sun protection, but it’s not a suit of armour. It prevents you burning for a limited time. All our sunscreens are broad spectrum and provide protection for up to 2 hours sun exposure. We advise reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours, but this is not a reset button particularly when you are out in direct sunlight at peak times.
- Apply your sunscreen properly. Use plenty of it and apply 15 to 20 minutes before you head outside, not when you’re already on the beach.
- Take additional precautions such as wearing a hat and covering up wherever possible. Always keep a couple of spare sun hats in the car.
- Children have particularly sensitive skin so you need to ensure they are properly protected when out in the sun. You may use sunscreen on toddlers and babies 6 months or older but you should also use hats and cover up clothing. And limit their exposure during peak times.
- ?Babies under 6 months are highly sensitive and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends not using sunscreen on their delicate skin. Instead opt for other forms of sun protection, such as shade or clothing and don’t take them out in peak summer sunshine.
- Remember that some places are more hazardous than others when it comes to sun exposure. If you’re out on the water or up a snowy mountain, the UV rays are reflected back at you increasing your exposure. So take extra care.
- Cloud cover only filters out 20% of UV rays, so the idea that you won’t burn on a cloudy day is simply not true. You still need sunscreen and protection.
- Lastly, use your common sense. Levels of sun exposure are affected by a number of factors such as where you are; the time of day; what you’re wearing and how well you’ve applied your sunscreen. So if you take precautions and yet still start to feel that tingling tightness of sunburn on your skin – get out of the sun.