Spending time outside is a quintessential Australian pastime, and it is a wonderful way to reduce stress, remain active and enjoy the positive effects of vitamin D. However, the beauty and benefits of the Australian sun are not without its dangers, with UV rays responsible for causing some of the most common cancers among the population.
In this blog, we'll look at why skin safety is important and what you can do to kick off your 2023 sun safety routine.
Why summer skin safety is important- even in 2023
It was estimated by the Cancer Council in 2008, that every year, over 400,000 people would be diagnosed with one or more non-melanoma skin cancer. At the same time as this study, melanoma was the fourth most diagnosed cancer in the country. Fast forward four years, and it is fast becoming the third. One thing that this data tells us, sun exposure is responsible for a whole lot of damage.
What causes skin cancer?
Skin cancer is caused by too much exposure to ultraviolet light, or UV rays. UV radiation is invisible, and is produced by sunlight, tanning beds and solariums, causing damage to the skin cells with very little exposure. UV rays are present year round, even on cold and cloudy days, and they can reflect off surfaces such as water, snow and cement.
Protecting yourself in the sun is not only about avoiding sunburn or stopping the signs of ageing, but reducing the risk of becoming another skin cancer statistic. The first step is being armed with the right information about how to protect your skin from the sun with a fully equipped sun safety routine.
So, before you step out into the sun this summer, read on for all the information you need to know for protecting yourself and your family.
Essential tips to prevent sun damage
Applying and reapplying sunscreen lotion with a sun protection factor (SPF) rating of 30 or higher is something everyone should do, everyday. However, it is only the start of an effective summer sun safety routine. Consider the following to gain the ultimate peace of mind, skin health and protection this summer.
1. Eat foods that help prevent sun damage
Diet is often an overlooked part of how we care for our bodies in response to external factors.
If you're skipping breakfast, coming off the night shift or you're prone to fasting in the daytime, you could be limiting your skin's ability to repair itself with the help of powerful nutrients.
Rather than shooting off to the beach in the morning with plans for some hot chips in the afternoon, pack some blueberries and watermelon for their high level of free radical fighting antioxidants.
Incorporate more nuts and seeds, carrots and leafy greens and cauliflower into your meals. Top it all off with a nightly green tea and your skin will thank you with increased collagen and fewer wrinkles.
2. Wear sun safe clothing
It is widely known that covering up and wearing layers is one of the most effective methods of sun protection. This can look like including a long sleeved shirt in your fishing kit, packing a cover up in your beach bag, or opting for a long skirt over shorts when the weather is warm. For the ultimate protection, invest in UPF rated clothing and a hat with a wide brim to cover your neck, face, ears, and even the neck.
The best hat is the one you are sure to reach for on your way out the door, and wear time and time again. Some of this year's hottest hat trends range from patterned knits to the classic adjustable cotton hat, with brands New Balance and Carhartt meeting the demand for stylish sunsafe options. Take style and function one step further with this on-trend UPF50+ rated plush reversible hat from Solbari.
3. Use sun safe swimwear
There seems to be endless types of swimwear flooding the market these days. However, you may not realise that there are choices out there that will limit your UV exposure while looking great. Swimwear brands such as Shadeswim have gone the extra mile in creating swimsuits with UPF50+ fabric to provide the ultimate protection.
With options to cover the entire chest, neck and arms, the most susceptible parts of women are covered without the need to worry about wearing a rash vest or sweating under an extra layer. With clothing providing less protection against UV rays when it gets wet, swimwear with sleeves or a high neck gives the perfect solution.
4. Practice good skin care for sun safety
The skincare and makeup industry has begun to take notice of the impact that the sun has on the skin, causing freckles, wrinkles, age spots and patches of pigmentation.
Thankfully, this has resulted in many products featuring SPF as the industry works to meet the demand of consumers seeking genuine skin health and anti skin ageing properties. This makes it easier to incorporate sun safety into your daily routine, however, ensure that you're using the right kind of products for the best protection.
The Cancer Council recommends a sunscreen of SPF 30+ to be applied and reapplied throughout the day. When it comes to skincare, a simple sunscreen can perform the job of anti ageing serums, oils and creams, prevent skin damage in the first place.
When choosing SPF infused makeup to protect your skin, always look for those with an SPF rating of 30 or more, and make sure you reapply regularly throughout the day.
Often, it is not possible to apply enough for adequate protection, with the SPF being diluted throughout the makeup, so make sure you're using a pure sunscreen base as well. Carry the Cancer Council's tinted BB cream or Invisible Zinc's tinted daywear cream to give you a boost of protection while freshening up your appearance for the next meeting or lunch date.
5. Stay sun safety during your commute
If you spend most of your daylight hours inside, you might fall under the impression that your skin is safe behind your office window. Unfortunately, this isn't the case, and UV rays can penetrate tall office windows and fast moving cars.
According to the Cancer Council, commercial and automobile glass can block the majority of UVB rays, but up to 79% of UVA rays can penetrate. Laminated windscreens, however, can block about 98% of UVA radiation.
Clear or tinted films can reduce the total amount of UV radiation penetration by over 99%, making tinting highly recommended for those who spend considerable time on the road. Prepare yourself to travel anywhere with our tips on how to protect your skin while traveling.
6. Don't forget to cover your eyes!
Your eyes can be damaged from the sun just as your skin can. When choosing sunnies this summer, choose a pair that satisfy Australian standards (look for AS/NZS 1067:2016) and look for those with an Eye Protection Factor (EPF) of 9 or 10. Even better if they protect the sides of your face, and have the Cancer Council seal of approval on the tag.
7. Bring the shade with you
Good quality shade can reduce UV exposure by up to 75%, according to the chair of the Cancer Council National Skin Committee. If you're heading out to an area where you're not confident in the levels of shade, such as the beach, playground or soccer pitch, pack a portable gazebo or umbrella to erect at your convenience.
This will ensure you're never caught out, baking in the sun, or forced to leave an event before the sun reaches its peak. This Cancer Council approved pop up cabana with a UPF rating of 50+ is a great option, or the popular Sunnylife UPF 30+ cabana.
Bring certainty to your summer with Sun Doctors
One of the best ways to encourage children and family to be sun smart this summer is to make your entry way, mud room, garage or carport a hub for sun safety. Put a pump bottle of SPF 50+ sunscreen, broad rimmed hats, your portable shelter, sunglasses and light cover-ups in an easy to reach location, so you never leave home unprotected. Ensure sunscreen is kept at room temperature so the ingredients won't experience any changes.
Once you've got your summer sun safety routine down pat, book in your annual skin check at any SunDoctors skin check clinics. Each doctor in our team, across our hubs Australia wide, are highly trained and have the expertise to handle any skin concerns.
There is nobody more qualified to give you a clean bill of health or to give you a treatment protocol to address your skin problems and manage your diagnosis. Gain certainty this summer, by booking your skin check at your local Sun Doctors.