It’s ski season in New Zealand. UV radiation is stronger at high altitude, especially when it reflects off the snow. The UV intensity not only increases with reflection from the snow, but from water and even concrete too! Almost all skin cancers in New Zealand are caused by the sun. Kiwis enjoy outdoor activities no matter what season we are in. To help prevent melanoma, we need to be vigilant protecting our skin throughout the year, not only in the heat of the summer.
“The dangerous UV rays from the sun are with us every day, including during winter”
— MEGAN YATES
“Wearing sunscreen daily is an important tool in helping protect ourselves from melanoma. Sunscreen also reduces the other effects of sun damage to our skin, such as photoaging.
“If the skin cancer risk isn’t enough to make you want to protect the skin you’re in, maybe some facts about photoaging will. Photoaging (as opposed to natural aging) is responsible for up to 80% of visible aging signs. These include irregular pigmentation, premature yellowing, deep wrinkles, and leathery skin.
“Applying sunscreen is integral to protecting our skin, but it is not enough on its own,” says Megan. “Empower yourself, your family and your young people protect their skin. Slip on some protective clothing, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on some sunglasses… all year round.”
• Use sunscreen that is at least SPF 30, broad-spectrum, water resistant and compliant with Australian/New Zealand Sunscreen Standard AS/ NZS 2604:2012.
• Slop on sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every 2 hours while in the sun or more frequently after activities such as swimming, sweating or towel drying.
• When the UV index is forecast to reach 3 or above, it is recommended that sunscreen is applied every day to the face, ears, scalp if uncovered, neck and all parts of the body not covered by clothing. Ideally, this would form part of your morning routine. This protects the skin from the harmful effects of everyday sun exposure.
• Two teaspoons of sunscreen should be used per large body part (e.g. torso, arms, legs) and one teaspoon to smaller body parts (e.g. face, neck, ears).
• During planned or prolonged outdoor activities, for the best protection it is recommended that sunscreen is used along with other sun protection measures (i.e. clothing to cover as much of the skin as possible; hats; sunglasses; shade and scheduling outdoor activities to avoid the middle part of the day).
When applied correctly and used regularly, sunscreen is effective in reducing the incidence of skin cancer.
Download the Uv2Day free smartphone app to help you plan your day.
The Sun Protection Alert tells you the time each day that you need to protect your skin and eyes.