Do we need to be SunSmart in winter?
Yes! Our behaviours to protect ourselves from the sun plunge as the temperature begins to drop and to our surprise, we find ourselves getting burnt or unintentionally tanned during winter months. So, what should we do to protect ourselves and students from the sun in winter? Here are some myths about sun protection in winter.
Myth – Sun protection is not important in winter.
Incorrect! Remember heat and UV (ultraviolet) radiation are not the same! It is important to regularly check the UV, especially in winter to prevent the surprise of getting burnt even on cooler, cloudy days. If you are heading outside for more than a few minutes and the UV is 3 or above, sun protection is required. For daily sun protection forecasts in locations across WA, head to www.myuv.com.au or download the free SunSmart app.
Myth – There is no difference between SPF 15, 30 and 50 on sunscreen.
Incorrect! SPF, or Sun Protection Factor, represents the fraction of UV radiation that gets through sunscreen and reaches your skin. So, SPF 50 allows 1/50th (2%) of the UV radiation through, while filtering out 98%, SPF 30 allows 1/30th (3.3%) of the UV through and filters out 96.7% and so on. Many cosmetic products include an SPF of 15 which is no longer regarded as a primary sunscreen, as higher SPF products now available provide better protection. When choosing a sunscreen, SPF 30 or higher is our recommendation. Make sure you apply enough for the sunscreen to be effective.
Myth – If I wear sunscreen, I can go without my hat and protective clothing.
Incorrect! Cancer Council WA recommends that a combination of measures is used to prevent sun damage when the UV is 3 or above – SLIP on sun protective clothing, SLOP on sunscreen, SLAP on a sun protective hat, SEEK shade, SLIDE on sun protective sunglasses. Although sunscreen can provide great protection from UV, no sunscreen gives 100% protection. We also often do not apply enough or forget to reapply; therefore, a combination of all sun protective measures is recommended when outside and the UV is 3 or above.
Myth – Applying sunscreen once a day is enough.
Incorrect! Our recommendation is to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outside and reapply at least every two hours. Sunscreen should be applied more frequently if being active, swimming, or towel-drying. Read the instructions on the packaging!