- Sun protection
- About skin cancer
- Causes of skin cancer
- Check for signs of skin cancer
- Preventing skin cancer
- Vitamin D
- UV alert
- Nanoparticles and sunscreen
- SunSmart position statements
- Shop for sun protection products
- SunSmart schools and early childhood programs
- Sun protection in the workplace
- Campaigns and events
- Nutrition and physical activity
- Smoking and tobacco
- Reduce your risk
- Early detection
Preventing skin cancer
Protect your skin
For best protection, we recommend a combination of sun protection measures:
- Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
- Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30+ (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
- Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
- Seek shade.
- Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide - Sid the Seagull Video
Be extra cautious in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense.
For further information please read our position statements on eye protection.
SunSmart UV alert
The SunSmart UV Alert is reported daily by the Bureau of Meteorology. The alert identifies times during the day when the UV level is 3 or above and sun protection is needed.
Find out more about the SunSmart UV Alert.
Apply sunscreen liberally – at least a teaspoon for each limb, front and back of the body and half a teaspoon for the face, neck and ears. Most people don’t apply enough sunscreen resulting in only 50-80% of the protection stated on the product.
Sun protection and babies
Evidence suggests that childhood sun exposure contributes significantly to your lifetime risk of skin cancer. Cancer Council Australia recommends keeping babies out of the sun as much as possible for the first 12 months.
Where this is not possible, parents and carers should minimise exposure by:
- Planning the day’s activities outside the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense.
- Cover as much skin as possible with loose fitting clothes and wraps made from closely woven fabrics.
- Choosing a hat that protects the baby’s face, neck and ears.
- Make use of available shade or create shade for the pram, stroller or play area. The material should cast a dark shadow. They baby will still need to be protected from scattered and reflected UV radiation.
- Keep an eye on the baby’s clothing, hat and shade to ensure they continue to be well-protected.
- Apply a broad spectrum, water resistant sunscreen to small areas of the skin that cannot be protected by clothing, such as the face, ears, neck and hands, remembering to reapply the sunscreen every two hours or more often it is wiped or washed off.
There is no evidence that using sunscreen on babies is harmful, although some babies may develop minor skin irritation. Try sunscreen milks or creams for sensitive skin which are less likely to irritate the skin. As with all products, use of any sunscreen should cease if any unusual reaction occurs.
If you require further information about skin cancer prevention call Cancer Council Helpline on 13 11 20 (a local call from anywhere in Australia).
This page was last updated on: Tuesday, January 21, 2014