Your sun-safe summer guide

Summer brings hotter days, longer daylight hours, and better conditions for enjoying the outdoors. But as we pack away our jackets and reach instead for the short sleeves, now is the time to make sure we’re doing our best to look after our skin health and protect it during the most “dangerous” time of year. Here are our top tips for looking after your skin this summer season!

5 tips to stay sun-safe this summer

1. Skip the tan

There is nothing healthy about a tan. In fact, did you know tanning is actually a sign of skin cells in trauma? After just 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure, your skin cells can begin to suffer irreparable damage and may try to prevent further injury by producing melanin (the pigment that gives skin its colour). This results in darkened skin, which we call a tan.

But a tan means you have experienced significant skin cell damage, which leads to a heightened risk of skin cancer and premature signs of ageing such as wrinkles, fine lines, and patchy pigmentation. If you want a healthy glow to your skin, use a tinted moisturiser or get a spray tan, but avoid UV-induced tans from the sun or tanning beds.

2. Wear sunscreen

Since Australia has the highest skin cancer rates in the world and UV levels remain high all year-round, wearing sunscreen whenever you go outdoors is a must. This is especially important during spring and summer, when UV levels frequently rise above 3 – the minimum level required to damage skin.

Regular sunscreen use helps prevent sun burn, skin cancer and premature ageing such as wrinkles and sagging skin.

3. Drink water

Water is essential for hydration in hot weather and also helps the skin to thrive by encouraging brighter, softer, plumper, and clearer skin. Two litres of water is the minimum recommended for the average person, but you’ll need more if you are exercising, sweating, or spending time in the sun.

4. Protect your skin from the sun

Being sun burnt is not a great way to spend your summer and your skin will suffer both now and in the future. While sunscreen is the key ingredient in protecting your skin from harmful UV radiation, there are other methods we need to put into action.

Keep by the door (or in your car) a hat, sunglasses, and extra sunscreen, and put them on every time you go out. Stick to the shade wherever possible – like walking on the shady side of the street and using your car’s sun visor to block the sun through the driver’s window – and avoid going out during the middle of the day when UV rays are strongest.

If you swim at the beach or in a pool during summer, be sure to use a water-resistant sunscreen and re-apply frequently, as sunscreen is likely to rub away in the water and when towelling off.

Did you know?
Not all the effects of sunburn are visible straight away. Sunburn permanently damages your skin and leaves you susceptible to skin cancer later in life.

5. Get a skin cancer check

Skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in Australia, making up 81 per cent of all new cases of cancer diagnosed every year. Two thirds of us will get skin cancer by the age of 70, and yet 1 in 3 Australians have never had a skin check!

As summer is the most “dangerous” time of year for developing skin malignancies, a full skin check can bring you peace of mind that you are detecting and treating problems early. If there is a delay in skin cancer detection and treatment, you could suffer significant scarring, physical disfigurement, or even death.

Did you know?
Around 2.4 million Australian adults get sunburnt on a summer weekend.

Since sunburn is the leading cause of skin cancer, including deadly melanoma, a skin check is one test you should do this summer to start your new year the right way.