Sun protection myths debunked

Did you know that you can get burnt in as little as 10-15 minutes when the UV is at its peak?

This timely reminder comes from the Cancer Council Queensland who underscore the vital importance for knowing how to protect yourself and to reduce your risk of skin cancer this summer.

According to Cancer Council Queensland’s Ms Chris McMillan, prevention and early detection are key to reducing skin cancer risk.

“Australia has the second highest rate of skin cancer in the world, after New Zealand, and Queensland has the highest rate of any state or territory,” warned Ms McMillan.

“This is largely due to our proximity to the equator, a largely fair-skinned population, and our love of the great outdoors.”

These alarming statistics along with the fact that according to the Cancer Council, “two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by age 70”, is enough to leave anyone hot under the collar.

But with so much information on sun protection available, how do we separate fact from fiction?

Cancer Council Queensland is here to bust the most common sun safety myths.

Myth One: Sun damage is not possible on windy, cloudy or cool days

False. Sun damage is caused by the UV not the temperature. This means sun damage can happen on cool, cloudy days and isn’t just something that happens in summer.

Myth Two: People with olive skin or who tan easily can’t get skin cancer

False. While those who have olive or very dark skin naturally have more sun protection because their skin produces more melanin than fair-skinned people, they can still develop skin cancer. It’s important for everyone to protect their skin against the UV.

Myth Three: Putting sunscreen on once is enough  

False. All sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours or more often when swimming, sweating or towel drying.

Myth Four: Sunscreen lasts forever

False. Sunscreen does have an expiry date. The active ingredients in sunscreen naturally break down over time and using expired sunscreen may leave your skin unprotected. Make sure you check the expiry date regularly.

National Skin Cancer Action week

The National Skin Cancer Action week runs from November 17-23 in partnership between the Cancer Council and the Australasian College of Dermatologists.

Its aim is to encourage everyone to use sun protection – to slip, slop, slap, seek, slide – and to #OwnYourTone.

Click here for more information.