04 December 2019
Our younger years often form our foundations for the future, and this holds true for our skin and risk of skin cancer too. Overexposure to UV radiation from the sun causes irreversible skin damage, with childhood and adolescence being critical times when this exposure is likely to contribute to skin cancer risk later in life. This is why it is important for you and your family to remain SunSmart these school holidays.
Sun protection is recommended when the UV is 3 and above, which during the summer school holidays, spans over most of the day—generally between 9.00 am and 5.30 pm. In fact UV will likely reach extreme levels of 11 or higher, every day over summer.
Leading into summer, children are typically at childcare or school during the sun protection times, where they have practices in place for sun protection. Just because school is out, doesn’t mean sun protection goes on holiday too.
Every time you and your family head outside—whether it’s a short trip to the park, or a day at the beach—make sure you check the UV and if it’s 3 and above, protect your skin by following our SunSmart tips. Protecting your own skin is just as important as protecting your children’s.
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible. Think shirts with collars and longer sleeves, and longer style pants or skirts made from a closely woven material. These are all clothing choices that offer the best UV protection.
- Slop on SPF30 or higher, broad spectrum sunscreen as part of your daily morning routine this summer. Then reapply sunscreen to any exposed skin if you’re heading outdoors during the sun protection times. Don’t forget to reapply every two hours afterwards if remaining outside.
- Slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears. Choose a hat with closely woven fabric and either a broad brimmed style hat, bucket hat or legionnaire hat. A cap does not offer sun protection.
- Seek shade. Use shade as much as possible when you are outdoors. Think about packing your own portable shade tent or umbrella, if practical.
- Slide on some sunglasses. Make sure they meet Australian Standards—eyes can also be damaged by UV radiation, as well as the delicate skin around the eyes which you can’t necessarily protect with sunscreen.
Avoiding being out and about in peak UV times of the day (around solar noon) is also a great way to reduce the risk of damage to your skin.
Another great way to reduce your family’s risk of skin damage is to make the most of daylight savings. Organise outings and activities early in the morning or late in the afternoon or evening to avoid overexposure to UV, as well as the summer heat.