Keeping yourself sun-smart all year round

Category: Healthier

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in New Zealand[1]. Our skin cancer rates, specifically melanoma is among the highest in the world. 90% of melanoma skin cancers are caused by too much sun exposure[2].

There are lots of things to do out in the great outdoors. Here are four ways to help keep you sun safe all year round.

1. The five ‘S’s

Slip (on clothing), Slop (on sunscreen) and Slap (on a hat) plus Seek (shade) and Slide (on sunglasses).

Slip - Choose clothing with long sleeves. Tight weave fabrics and dark colours provide better protection from the sun than white or light coloured clothing.

Slop - Use plenty of broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least SPF30. It’s recommended that an aduit needs 30 grams (6 teaspoons) of sunscreen. Broad-spectrum means it filters both UVA and UVB radiation (as both types can cause sun cancer)[3]. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outside and make sure to reapply every two hours especially after swimming, exercise or when it’s really hot or if you are sweating a lot.

Slap - Hats come in all shapes and sizes, but a wide brimmed hat or cap with flaps gives you the best sun protection.

Seek - Take an umbrella, or sun shelter to the beach or find a nice big shady tree to sit or lie under.

Slide - Choose close fitting, wrap around style sunglasses. Check the label for the sun protection rating as not all sunglasses protect against UV radiation.

2. Time of the day

It is a good idea to stay out of the sun during the hottest time of the day, so plan to go to the beach, the park or out into the garden either early in the morning or later in the afternoon.

3. Protect yourself all year round

Did you know UV radiation could still get through on cloudy days so you can still get sunburnt. Sunscreen and sunglasses are essential items, especially in alpine conditions, on the water or around reflective surfaces such as snow and ice.

4. Check your skin regularly

Check your skin regularly for any moles or skin patches that have appeared or change over time. Skin cancers can be in places you can’t see yourself, so you may need to ask someone to help you check. If you notice any unusual skin changes, talk to your doctor and show them what is worrying you.

Prevention is always better than the cure; so make sure you look after yourself while you are out and about.






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