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Think you’re SunSmart? Check you’ve got it right…

6 November 2019

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Warm weather, beach days… the best of the year is coming, but it’s also the time to make sure your family is being SunSmart (and not just at the beach). Skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in New Zealand – but the good news is that avoiding excess sun exposure can significantly reduce your risk.

Here’s a reminder of what you need to do to protect your skin and a few things you should be aware of when it comes to checking your freckles and moles. 

When to be SunSmart

It’s particularly important to be SunSmart from September to April, especially between 10am and 4pm. This is when UV radiation from the sun is at its highest. Find out more.

Shade: the best sun protection there is

Slip, slop, slap, wrap – you know the drill. Take a look here for a refresher. But did you know that finding shade between 10am and 4pm is the best sun protection there is? 

Are you slopping your sunscreen on the right way?

Here are a few must-dos from the Cancer Society:

  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outdoors to allow time for it to dry and be absorbed by your skin.
  • Use about 1 teaspoon on each of: your arms, your legs, the front of your body, the back of your body and your face (if you’re an average-sized adult).
  • After two hours, reapply – but if you’ve been swimming or sweating, reapply immediately. 

 

Three things to look for in your sunscreen

  • Broad-spectrum protection (this means it blocks UVA and UVB radiation, both of which damage skin).
  • Sun protection factor of at least 30 (the higher the SPF the more UV radiation is filtered but remember no sunscreen can completely block UV radiation).
  • AS/NZ 2604 on the label (this means your sunscreen meets the Australian and New Zealand standard for sunscreen). Find out more.

Check your skin: what to look for in your freckles and moles

Early detection gives the best chance of successful skin cancer treatment. Talk to your GP if you have a mole, freckle or spot that is: 

  • New or changing
  • Does not heal
  • Looks different from the others around it
  • Has changed in size, thickness, shape, colour or has started to bleed  

Take a look at these great resources from the Cancer Society to find out:

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