Sun Care

The Facts;

  • Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.
  • About 2,000 Australians die from skin cancer each year.
  • Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world.
  • Medicare records show there were over a million treatments for squamous and basal cell carcinoma skin cancers in 2018 – that’s more than 100 skin cancer treatments every hour.
  • Basal and squamous cell carcinoma skin cancers accounted for one quarter of all cancer-related hospitalisations in 2014–15.4 The cost to the health system of these skin cancers alone is estimated to be more than $700 million annually. The costs to the Federal Government and the community from basal and squamous cell carcinomas are predicted to continue to increase in the future.
  • It is estimated that approximately 200 melanomas and 34,000 other skin cancer types per year are caused by occupational exposures in Australia.
  • Skin sun damage is caused by UV radiation (not the temperature)- hence why you can still get sunburnt on windy, cloudy and cold days.
  • Skin damage can occur via artificial sources as well (e.g. Solarium’s).

Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide

  1. Slip on sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible
  2. Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
  3. Slap on a hat– broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
  4. Seek shade.
  5. Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian standards.


  • Apply sunscreen to clean and dry skin.
  • Apply at least 20 minutes before going outside or swimming.
  • Apply evenly and re-apply every 2 hours (even if water resistant sunscreen).
  • Should also re-apply sunscreen after activities such as swimming, excessive sweating and towel drying. These activities can reduce the effectiveness of sunscreen products.
  • The recommended application for adults- 5mL to each arm, body front and back and the face (includes neck and ears) for a total body application of 35mL or roughly 7 teaspoons worth.
  • SPF is a guide to the sunscreens protection rating and how effectively it filters UV rays. The highest SPF available in Australia is SPF 50+.
  • SPF 30 filters 96.7% of UV rays while SPF 50 filters 98%- they both provide excellent protection but must be applied correctly for best protection.
  • When choosing sunscreen, pick one that best suits your skin type and needs. Ideally should aim for at least 30+, broad spectrum and water resistant.
  • Broad spectrum sunscreen filters and protects against UVA and UVB rays (they both cause skin damage), UVB is the main culprit for skin cancer and skin damage.
  • When it comes to children- sunscreen can start to be applied from 6 months and up, younger kids need to be covered up and kept out of the sun wherever possible.

What can be done after the damage is done

For adults:

  • Act fast to cool it down- If the burn happens while around a pool or beach- take a quick dip to cool the area down and quickly cover up. Continue to cool the area using cold compress in conjunction with cool baths or showers- but not for to long so you don’t dry the area out to much, also be sure to avoid harsh soap so the area doesn’t get irritated.
  • Moisturise while skin is damp- Use a moisturising lotion (nothing that contains petroleum or is an oil based ointment as these can trap in the heat) and keep applying to burnt or peeling skin to keep moist.
  • Decrease the inflammation- Use NSAIDS if able to at the first sign of a burn to aid with discomfort and reduce swelling. Aloe vera can be applied to mild burns to aid in comfort along with wearing loose fitting clothes to avoid exposing the burn to the sun further.
  • Replenish your fluids- Burns draw fluid to the skins surface and away from the rest of the body, so it’s vital that you drink plenty of water and using electrolyte replacement products.
  • See a Dr if- There is any severe blistering over large parts of the body, fever and chills or just generally disorientated then seek medical help.

For kids:

  • Bathe in clear, tepid water- This is a good way to cool the skin, but be sure to use gentle washes so not to irritate the burn any further.
  • Stay hydrated- Be sure to keep offering them plenty of water or juice, if the child becomes disorientated or isn’t urinating regularly, seek medical help urgently.
  • Moisturise the skin- Keeping the skin moist provides the best comfort for them and aids in the healing of the area.
  • Keep the kids out of the sun- To avoid any further damage, also use this opportunity to practice sun protection.