Being Sun Smart All Year Long

It’s wise to be sun smart on the sand all year long

There’s no doubt we’re the lucky country, with some of the most beautiful beaches and gloriously sunny days in the world. It is wise to stay sun smart all year long.

But with those soaring temperatures come responsibilities to our bodies. Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Here’s how to stay safe while having fun on the beach.

Sun protection isn’t only for summer

The UV remains at 3 or above for most of the year here in New South Wales. So even on cool or cloudy days, your skin is still at risk. You can find out the local UV levels by downloading the SunSmart app or checking the local newspaper.

Which sunscreen should I use?

Always use sunscreen when the UV index is 3 or above. Add it to your morning routine and it will soon become habitual. Go for a sunscreen that is labelled broad-spectrum, water-resistant and SPF30 or above. And don’t rely on sunscreen alone. It should always be used with other protection measures including hats, clothing, sunglasses and shade.

Apply 20 minutes before heading out

A good rule of thumb is you’ll need at least one teaspoon per limb, one for the front of your body, one for the back and one for your head. Reapply every two hours if you’re spending time outdoors, and after swimming, sweating or towel drying.

Shade, not sunscreen, for babies under six months

The Cancer Council does not recommend the use of sunscreen on babies under six months. Instead, it advises protective clothing, hats and shade. If you can’t avoid your baby or child being exposed to the sun, they recommend applying sunscreen to those small areas of skin not covered by wraps, clothing and a hat. Always patch test first on a small area to check for any negative reactions.

Layer up your little loves

Babies and children are at high risk of sunburn and skin damage because of their delicate skin. Cover them up with loose-fitting clothes made from tightly-woven fabrics. Go for a broad brim, bucket or Legionnaires hat, ensure prams and strollers have shade and plan your day to reduce sun exposure between 10am and 2pm (11am and 3pm during daylight savings).

There’s no such thing as a healthy tan

A tan is a sign your skin has been damaged by UV radiation. It means the skin has increased its production of melanin to protect itself from the effects of too much radiation. There’s so many clever fake tan products available now – gone are the days of the streaky orange telltale signs. Your body will thank you for adding a safe layer of fake golden sunshine – or even better, flaunting your natural skin colour on the sand.