How much sunscreen should I apply?
It’s very important to apply sufficient sunscreen in order to obtain maximum protection. For an adult of average size, 5ml of sunscreen should be applied to each 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). A total of around 35ml of sunscreen should be used for a full-body application.
How often should I apply sunscreen?
Cancer Council Australia recommends reapplying sunscreen every 2 hours.
What does SPF mean?
SPF is the Sun Protection Factor provided by a sunscreen. It’s a standardised test, carried out under laboratory conditions on sunscreen that measures its ability to block UVB, stop sunburn and reduce the risk of skin cancer.
Is SPF30+ enough protection?
If properly applied, SPF 30 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, if properly applied and then reapplied every two hours, SPF 30+ sunscreen will offer sufficient protection against UVB.
How do I know if my sunscreen protects against UVA radiation?
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.
Do any sunscreens offer 100% protection from the sun?
No, sunscreens cannot completely shield you from the effects of UV radiation. Sunscreens act as filters, but can still let some UV radiation through. An SPF 100 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 always wear a hat, protective clothing and sunglasses in addition to applying sunscreen.
It’s a cloudy day, can I stay safely outside for as long as I like?
No. Even on a cloudy day, UV radiation is present. Overcast skies make little difference to decreasing your risk of sunburn and can be worse in some cases, as UV rays are reflected off clouds.
Why is it so important to protect babies and young children from the sun?
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. It’s particularly important to keep babies out of the sun where possible.
If I burn, peel and then go brown does that mean I’ll get skin cancer?
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.
Is UV radiation always at its highest in the hottest weather?
No. The sun does not need to feel hot to damage your skin. UV levels are highest around mid-day, but the maximum temperature often occurs later in the day, when the earth’s surface is at its warmest. The sun’s heat comes from infra-red rays, not UV rays , and you can still burn on cool days.
Is it safe to use solariums (tanning beds)?
No. Solariums deliver UV rays that harm the skin, in the same way as if you exposed your skin to the sun. By using solariums, you’re not only damaging your skin and causing premature ageing, but greatly increasing your risk of developing skin cancer. Hong Kong Cancer Fund strongly advises against the use of solariums.