Outdoor SafetySun Safety
Cancer Council Victoria recommends using SPF30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. However sunscreen alone will not provide adequate protection against overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Cancer Council recommends five steps to protect against sun damage during the daily sun protection times (when the UV level is 3 and above):
1. Slip on sun-protective clothing.
2. Slop on SPF30 or higher sunscreen – make sure it is broad-spectrum and water-resistant. Put it on 20 minutes
before you go outdoors and re-apply every two hours.
3. Slap on a hat – that protects your face, head, neck and ears.
4. Seek shade.
5. Slide on sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
UV levels are most intense during the middle of the day. Check the daily sun protection times, available:
- on the free SunSmart app
- online at sunsmart.com.au or bom.gov.au/weather/uv
- in the weather section of newspapers
- as a free website widget.
The sun protection times show when the UV Index is forecast to be 3 or above.
What is SPF?
Sunscreens with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 4 and above are listed on the Australian Register of the Therapeutic Goods Administration. Products can only be listed on the register if they comply with the Australian/New Zealand Standard for sunscreen products (AS/NZS 2604:2012). The highest SPF for sunscreen available in Australia is SPF50+. The SPF number is only a guide to a sunscreen’s protection.
How long a person will take to burn depends on the time of day, time of year, amount of UV reflection, how cloudy it is and their skin type.
In laboratory conditions, when used as directed, SPF30 sunscreen filters 96.7% of UV radiation and SPF50 filters 98%. Both provide excellent protection if they are applied properly.
Free SunSmart app
Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation causes wrinkles and skin and eye damage, ultimately leading to skin cancer.
UV cannot be seen or felt. It is not like the sun’s light which we see, or the sun’s warmth (infrared radiation) which we feel. Our senses cannot detect UV so it can be damaging without us knowing.
- Personalisation: Download the app and personalise it with your natural skin type, height, weight, age, gender and set your location for anywhere in Australia.
- Reminders: Set up a sun protection alert and receive daily reminders for the times of day when UV reaches a level that can damage your skin and eyes, as well as two-hour reminders to re-apply sunscreen.
- Sunscreen calculator: Use the sunscreen calculator to find out how much sunscreen you need to apply, taking account of your size and clothing.
- Vitamin D tracker: Find out how much UV exposure you need for vitamin D.
- Seven-day weather forecast: Check the weather for the week ahead for any location in Australia.