Every year in Australia, skin cancers account for about 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers, and most are caused by exposure to the sun.
General practitioner and medical director at HealthShare Dr Jill Gamberg said ultraviolet rays (including UVA and UVB rays) from the sun can cause skin damage in as little as 15 minutes.
“Prolonged exposure to the sun and the resulting sun damage can lead to skin cancer. Approximately two thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach 70,” she said.
Whether working or playing, avoiding the sun between 10am and 3pm is the best protection. This is when the sun is most intense and produces the greatest chance of sunburn and sun damage.
While sunscreen alone is not a complete protection from sun damage, when used in conjunction with protective gear and shade it can be an effective barrier.
“A sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 30+ should be applied daily, even when the conditions cool or cloudy over summer. Re-apply every two hours, and after swimming or excessive sweating,” Dr Gamberg said.
“Do not forget to apply a lip-balm containing sunscreen to your lips too.”
Wear proper protective sunglasses to prevent damage to the eyes.
“Other factors can contribute to unhealthy skin, including smoking, dehydration, and an unhealthy diet.”
These can be discussed with your GP, skin cancer specialist or dermatologist.