18th December 2020

UV-blocking, skin-saving gifts could help set up a lifetime habit of daily sun-protection as part of the morning routine, says Dr Elke Hacker, QUT public health skin-cancer prevention expert.

  • Start sun-safety habits young - babies in buggies need sun-blocking zip on shade for skin and eye protection
  • It might be a rainy, La Nina summer but we still need daily skin protection
  • Don’t leave sunscreen in the car – temperatures over 30 degrees nullify it
  • Sunscreen degrades after use by date

“We must learn to treat sunscreen, hats and sunglasses as wearable shade,” Dr Hacker said.

“Living in Australia, where we have the highest rates of skin cancer and melanoma in the world, we need to use sunscreen every day, rain or shine, to protect our skin from an accumulation of UV radiation.

“Even though we are in for a wet La Nina summer, sunscreen, hats, shirts and sunglasses should still be worn if spending any time outdoors in the next few months.

“Warm, breezy days can be a problem because people feel cool and don’t realise their skin is burning. Wind does not stop UV radiation burning skin.”

Some potential life and sun saving stocking stuffers:

  • SPF50+ lip balm - lips are one of the top places to get skin cancers.
  • Hand-sanitiser size SPF30+ sunscreen containers to carry with you at all times
  • UV -detection stickers from pharmacies that remind wearer to reapply sunscreen, seek shade etc
  • UPF50+ zinc sticks – children love the coloured ones

Dr Hacker said it was important to refresh your sunscreen because they lose their efficacy after the use by date.

“Sunscreen that’s left in a hot car quickly becomes useless or degraded. The Australian sunscreen standard recommends storage conditions below 30 degrees,” she said.

Above: UV photograph shows sunscreen coverage and skin sun damage.

Dr Hacker said other items for sun safety include:

  • UPF50+ buggy shade – a muslin cloth does not protect their skin or eyes from UV radiation. Babies get enough Vitamin D from ambient UV radiation.
  • Sunglasses – Australian standard 3 or 4. Children from two years and up can wear sunglasses.
  • A rashie that’s long-sleeved and covers the neck.
  • Large UV 50+ beach shade
  • A UPF50+ hat
  • A UPF50+ umbrella for walks

QUT Media contacts:

Niki Widdowson, 07 3138 2999 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au

After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901 or media@qut.edu.au.

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