Q: How much sunscreen should I apply?

A: It is very important to apply sufficient sunscreen in order to obtain maximum protection. On an adult of average size, 5ml of sunscreen should be applied per major body part (i.e. 5ml for the face, neck and ears, 5ml for the front of the body, 5ml for the back of the body, and 5ml for each arm and leg). For an adult of average size, a total of 35ml of sunscreen should be used for a full body application.


Q: It's a cloudy day. Can I safely stay outside as long as I like?

A: No. Even on a cloudy day, UV radiation is present. Overcast skies make little difference to decreasing your risk of sunburn, and in some cases, can be worse as UV rays are reflected off clouds.


Q: Why is it so important to protect babies and young children?

A: Young skin is delicate and easily damaged by the sun. The majority of skin cancers result from damage at a young age. Teaching children, parents and carers safe SunSmart behaviour offers protection and sets a good example for later life. Keep babies out of the sun if possible.


Q: If I burn, peel and then go brown will I get skin cancer?

A: Burning and peeling are signs of skin damage. Your skin will wrinkle and show signs of ageing. Sun damages the DNA of skin cells and skin cancer can eventually develop with repeated exposure.


Q: Is UV radiation always highest when it's hottest?

A: No. The sun does not need to feel hot to damage your skin. UV levels are highest around midday, but the maximum temperature often occurs late in the day, when the earth's surface is warmest. The sun’s heat comes from infra-red rays, not UV rays, and you can still burn on cool days.


Q: Is it safe to use solariums (tanning beds)?

A: No. Solariums deliver UV rays that harm the skin, just like they would if you expose your skin to the sun. By using solariums, you are not only damaging your skin and causing premature ageing, but you’re greatly increasing your risk of developing skin cancer. Hong Kong Cancer Fund advises against the use of solariums.


Q: How often should I apply sunscreen?

A: Cancer Council Australia recommends reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours.


Q: What does SPF mean?

A: SPF stands for the Sun Protection Factor provided by a sunscreen. It is a standardised test, carried out under laboratory conditions on a sunscreen formula that measures its ability to block UVB, stop sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer.


Q: Is SPF30+ protection enough?

A: A properly applied SPF30 sunscreen will block about 97% of UVB. Sunscreens with SPF values greater than 30 can only improve the UVB blocking properties by an additional 2%. Therefore an SPF30+ sunscreen applied properly, and reapplied every two hours, will offer enough protection against UVB.


Q: How do I know if a sunscreen protects against UVA radiation?

A: To ensure that a sunscreen has appropriate UVA protection, you should check the label for the following statements: “Broad Spectrum UVA/UVB”, a UVA logo within a circle, a PA+++ rating or a Boots Star rating. 

Q: Do sunscreens offer complete protection from the sun?

A: No, sunscreens cannot completely shield you from the effects of UV radiation. Sunscreen acts as filters but can still let some UV radiation through. An SPF100 sunscreen will block about 99% UVB, so the 1% that passes through to the skin can still cause sunburn – especially if you have sensitive skin or are in the sun for a long time. You should wear a hat, protective clothing and sunglasses in addition to sunscreen.