Sun Protection

Being SunSmart is about staying safe when outdoors and exposed to the sun. Hong Kong’s environment is particularly susceptible to damaging UV rays. Spending a lot of time outside in the sun increases your risk of skin cancer.

Be SunSmart at all times and protect yourself against skin damage and sunburn by remembering to  ‘slip, slop, slap, slide and seek’.

Clothing protects the skin from ultraviolet (UV) radiation by creating a barrier between the skin and the sun. Here are a few tips for choosing SunSmart clothing:

  • Choose loose fitting garments that allow air to circulate and regulate your body temperature
  • Garments with collars and sleeves of at least elbow-length are best
  • Wear long trousers or skirts, or shorts which are at least knee- length
  • Wear close-knit fabrics which will restrict the penetration of UV rays
  • Wear light-weight fabrics, such as linen, cotton or hemp to keep you cool

Sunscreen protects the skin by filtering out most UV radiation before it reaches it. However, no sunscreen offers 100% protection from UV rays.

  • Apply sunscreen generously, 15-30 minutes before you go outside
  • Re-apply every 2 hours (especially when sweating or swimming)
  • Always use a high-factor (SPF 30+) broad-spectrum sunscreen

For more information on sunscreens, see our Frequently Asked Questions.


A well-designed hat can substantially reduce the amount of ultraviolet (UV) radiation reaching the face, neck, ears and head – common sites for skin cancer.


Exposure to UV radiation over a long period of time can lead to eye damage. When choosing sunglasses, remember to:

  • Wear close-fitting, wrap-around styles
  • Look for the words ‘good UVR protection’ on the label or tag
  • Wear polarised sunglasses to reduce glare and make it easier to see on a sunny day

Staying in the shade can reduce your overall exposure to UV radiation by up to 75%. Look for shade under:

  • Tress or bushes
  • Man-made (i.e. umbrellas and parasols)
  • Purpose-built structures that are permanent, temporary or portable
  • Shadows from nearby buildings