While summer is a time for hitting the beach, swimming and spending time outdoors in the glorious sunshine, it’s wise to remember to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays.
Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in New Zealand with over 350 Kiwis dying from it each year. Over-exposure to the sun’s UV light can increase your chances of developing skin cancer.
So here’s our top tips for staying safe in the sun over summer.
Always cover up when you’re out in the sun. That means not only wearing a wide-brimmed hat but also wearing long sleeves and pants. Remember to cover up as much as possible when at the beach and swimming. For example, rash shirts are great for providing extra protection when taking a dip.
The sun can cause serious damage to your eyes so always wear sunglasses when you’re outside, plus you’ll look super-cool! Remind kids to wear sunglasses – they’re never too young. Make sure sunglasses meet the Australia/New Zealand safety standard by checking the label or asking the retailer.
Always wear sunscreen. Make sure you apply it about 15 minutes before going outside and re-apply it every couple of hours. You must re-apply it more often if you’ve been swimming or you’ve sweated a lot. A broad-spectrum sunscreen cream with an SPF rating of 30 or higher is recommended. And use water-resistant sunscreen when in the water. Remember to apply sunscreen everywhere – that includes places you might not think about such as your ears, lips, back of the knees and tops of your feet.
Stay in the shade
If you’re spending time outdoors, look for shade. This could mean sitting under a tree, bringing sun umbrellas or tents to the beach or seeking shade in the shadow of a building.
Stay out of the sun between 10am and 4pm
The sun is at its fiercest between 10am and 4pm. Try to stay out of the sun during this part of the day.
Keep an eye on your skin
Get regular skin checks and get to know your own skin. Make a mental note of your freckles and moles and, if they change, bleed or itch, of if new ones appear or you have any concerns whatsoever, see your GP or skin specialist straight away.
For more tips and sun safety information, visit Health Navigator NZ.