Be SunSmart this summer!
|Some sunshine is essential for health, but too much causes sunburn, skin ageing, eye damage and skin cancer. The challenge is to find a healthy balance while still enjoying our outdoors Aussie lifestyle.
When to protect
The SunSmart UV index provides the best guide to when you are most at risk from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays. Protection is recommended when the UV Index is 3 or more.
The UV index is reported every day for over 200 locations in the weather section of the newspaper and on the Bureau of Meteorology website at www.bom.gov.au.
Sunscreen is not enough
Sunscreen should not be the only line of defence for sun damage. The Cancer Council also advises these other SunSmart strategies:
• Wear dark, close-weave materials and cover as much skin as possible.
• Try to stay in the shade.
• Wear a broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket-style hat.
• Wear close-fitting wrap-around sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard AS 1067.
• Minimise your time in the sun between 10am-3pm.
Use sunscreen correctly
Most of us do not use enough sunscreen or do not apply it properly. This results in a reduction in the sun protection factor (SPF) from sunscreen by as much as 75%!
• Choose a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with SPF of 30+, which filters 96.7% of UV radiation when used correctly.
• Apply to clean, dry skin, at least 20 minutes before going outside.
• Use enough: 1 teaspoon for each limb, the back and torso, and ½ teaspoon for the face and neck.
• Reapply every 2 hours, or more often if swimming or sweating.
• Discard after the use-by date.
What about vitamin D?
While too much sunshine is harmful, some exposure is needed to produce vitamin D for healthy bones. Most people get adequate vitamin D from normal day-to-day outdoor activities.
In summer, a few minutes of unprotected sun on most days on the face, arms and hands is enough. In winter, in the southern states, people may need 2-3 hours of sun exposure each week.
Some people, such as the elderly, those with dark skin and those who cover their skin for religious reasons, may need a vitamin D supplement. Speak to your doctor if concerned.
For more information: www.cancer.org.au.
Please note this information was correct at time of printing.
For up to date information, speak to your doctor.Source: Summer 2009 Edition | Page 1
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