How to Protect your Skin from Sun in Australia
The statistics on skin cancer occurrence in Australia are scary, to say the least. Almost 450,000 cases are recorded in the country every year, most of which are the non-melanoma skin cancer variety. The death toll is even scarier – more than 1600 lives are lost to skin cancer each year. This is among the highest in the world.
No doubt, the bright and cheery Australian sun is irresistible to many; it is so inviting that many Australians spend much of their lives in the great outdoors. Yet, given the link between sun exposure and the development of skin cancer, must the sun be avoided at all cost?
Not really, but some compromises are in order. First, we need to understand that the culprit in skin cancer development is ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun. It is worth noting, though, your body actually needs UV rays in small doses for vitamin D activation, so don’t panic just yet. In months when the sun is strongest, i.e., when most of the rest of the world is still recovering from Christmas excess in January, a 15-minute exposure to sunshine is enough to develop a nasty burn if you don’t adopt a few sun protection tips.
Inherent as it is in the rays of the sun, a large extent of UV can be prevented from causing lasting damage, hence reducing your risk of developing skin cancer. Sun protection information is important, and it helps to remember the 5S tip: slip, slop, slap, seek, and slide.
“Slip” refers to slipping on clothes that are sun-protective. Make sure to keep most of your skin under wraps. The parts that are not covered should be subjected to “slop”, which means slopping on the sun protection factor, and reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours. If you sweat profusely, or have gone swimming, then it’d be best to reapply every half hour.
Next is “slap”, where you slap a hat on to protect your head. The hat should be wide enough to protect your face, neck, and ears. Sun protection in Australia also means making sure to “seek” shade whenever and wherever you can, and to “slide” on a good pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes. Make sure the sunglasses meet the Australian Standard AS1067 for sun protection.
These sun protection tips must be adopted from as earlier an age as possible, because research has shown that the probability of acquiring skin cancer is greater among those who have been exposed to the sun since childhood and adolescence. Awareness will lead to preventive measures, and prevention will go a long way in maintaining your health.