You’re probably not using enough sunscreen!

You’re probably not using enough sunscreen!

Find out how much experts now say you need

Posted on 25.01.2019

Australians should be taking a much more aggressive approach to wearing sunscreen, with the latest advice from sun safety experts now recommending people apply sunscreen every day as part of a regular morning routine, instead of just ahead of planned outdoor activities.

The policy change follows a national sunscreen summit held in Brisbane last year, at which representatives from some of Australia’s leading research, medical, public health and advocacy bodies examined the current evidence on sunscreen use.

An article outlining the recommendations was published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health.

Key points

  • People get a lot of incidental sun exposure from everyday activities, such as walking to the bus stop, or hanging out washing
  • Experts recommend people should be putting sunscreen on as part of their daily, morning routine
  • Daily sunscreen application should become as commonplace as brushing your teeth

It was led by Professor David Whiteman and Associate Professor Rachel Neale from QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute.

Associate Professor Neale said until now, most public health organisations recommended applying sunscreen ahead of planned outdoor activities, but had not specifically advised to apply it every day as part of a morning routine.

“In Australia, we get a lot of incidental sun exposure from everyday activities, such as walking to the bus stop or train station, or hanging out washing,” she said.

“In recent years, it has become clear that the DNA damage that causes skin cancer and melanoma accumulates with repeated small doses of sunlight.

“We’re now advising that people should be putting sunscreen on as part of their daily, morning routine — get out of the shower, get dried, and put your sunscreen on before you get dressed.”

Experts at last year’s summit examined all of the evidence around sunscreen use and came to a consensus that Australians should apply sunscreen every day when the maximum UV level was forecast to be three or higher.

Cancer Council Australia prevention advisor Craig Sinclair said that was especially relevant right now in light of the heatwave conditions affecting many parts of the country. “In relation to UV levels above three over the course of the day, for this time of year that’s anywhere in Australia,” he said

ABC News; Shelley Lloyd

Based on the average daily maximum UV index, residents in Australia’s capital cities should apply sunscreen daily in the following months

  • All year round: Brisbane, Perth and Darwin
  • Every month except June: Sydney
  • Every month except June and July: Canberra and Adelaide
  • Every month except between May and July: Melbourne
  • Every month except between May and August: Hobart

Rebecca Hyam
ABC News





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