‘Tis the season to be SunSmart

With summer here and parts of the country starting to really feel the heat, the Cancer Council is again reminding Australians about the importance of being SunSmart.

This comes on the back of recent data reportedly indicating that an alarming number of Australians are still getting a tan despite the well-known risks.

Data from the 2019 Summer Sun Protection Survey (Life in Australia™) shows that almost one in two Australians reported having a tan from sun exposure last summer (46%), with men (51%) being more likely to have tanned skin compared to women (42%).

Given that Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world this data is worrying, prompting calls from the Cancer Council to re-think our attitudes to sun tanning and to recall the SunSmart messages we grew up with.

“Summer is upon us and we know that many of us will want to be spending time outdoors, enjoying fewer restrictions and the warmer weather,” says Megan Varlow, Cancer Council Australia, Director Cancer Control Policy.

“But the message than tanning bad for you is still the same … [it’s] a sign that you have been exposed to enough UV radiation to damage your skin.”

Ms Varlow adds that even if we’re out and about without sun protection, and not intentionally trying to get a tan, the “risks will be heightened and for some people this can result in skin cancer”.

“We need to shift the perception that having a tan is desirable and consider the impacts of the damage having a tan can cause,” continues Ms Varlow.

“We urge you to scrap your plan to tan this summer, and instead protect your skin from UV radiation, which can cause skin damage, premature ageing and skin cancer.”

How to be SunSmart

Whenever the UV level is three or above, the Cancer Council is reminding people to follow the five simple steps to be SunSmart:

  • Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible;
  • Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen;
  • Slap on a Broad-brimmed hat that shades the face, ears and neck;
  • Seek shade and
  • Slide on sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard for UV protection.

“It’s so important for Australians to use adequate sun protection and avoid tanning,” underscores Ms Varlow.

For more on how to be SunSmart this summer, visit: cancer.org.au/cancer-information/causes-and-prevention/sun-safety/be-sunsmart.