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Tips on sunscreen application — when, why and how often?

A surprising number of Aussies are not aware of how to use sunscreen correctly to ensure they get maximum sun protection. Keep reading for some beneficial sunscreen tips for you and your family.

Mom applying sunscreen

When to use sunscreen

Harmful sun damage can occur on a clear sunny day or a cloudy day. For this reason sunscreen should be applied daily. Sunscreen is not just for use during summer. Children and adults should use sunscreen whenever they are out and about, any time of the year. Sunscreen should be applied 15 to 20 minutes before sun exposure to allow time for it to be absorbed into the skin.

Why we need to use sunscreen

According to SunSmart statistics, Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world, and two in every three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old. This is an alarming statistic, proving the importance of effective sunscreen protection for Aussies of all ages.

Regular application is vital

It is not enough just to apply one coat of sunscreen in the morning and expect to be protected from the sun all day. Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology informs us that UV levels are at their peak between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Sunscreen only lasts for a few hours and needs to be reapplied regularly, at least every four hours. Swimming, perspiration and the use of insect repellent reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen, meaning it should be reapplied more frequently.

sunscreenUse sunscreen liberally

The Australian Cancer Council states that the vast majority of people don’t apply enough sunscreen with each application, meaning that, on average, they only receive 50 to 80 per cent protection. Banana Boat recommends using an amount equal to the size of a 20 cent coin on each body part to ensure sufficient coverage.

Sun care for infants and young children

Babies under 12 months of age should be kept out of the sun as much as possible, and it is recommended that parents seek medical advice before applying sunscreen to babies under the age of six months. Instead, very young children should be kept covered in cool loose clothing and out of direct sunlight. Some parents are hesitant to use sunscreen on their young children. However, there are many sunscreens available specifically designed for children that are gentle on their delicate skin.

Remember the sun smart rules

  • Slip on a shirt, covering up as much bare skin as possible with cool loose clothing.
  • Slop on some sunscreen using a broad spectrum sunscreen, such as Banana Boat’s range of SPF30 or SPF50 sunscreens.
  • Slap on a hat, ensuring face, head, neck and ears are covered.
  • Seek shade whenever possible.
  • Slide on some sunglasses.

More sun safety tips

Do Australians need higher sun protection?
Beyond sunburn — other dangerous side effects
What sunscreen is right for you?

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