Think you know all there is to know about staying sun safe this summer? Try this quick quiz.
True or false? If you use an SPF15 primer and an SPF30 moisturiser, that’s equivalent to wearing an SPF45.
False. Think of it like milk: “If you have a cup of 2 per cent milk, then add another cup of 2 per cent, it doesn’t become 4 per cent,” says dermatologist Dr Rachel Nazarian.
True or false? Any hat offers good protection.
False. A loose-weave straw hat isn’t enough. Opt for a hat that is tightly woven with a brim at least 8cm wide.
True or false? Lying under a beach umbrella is good protection.
Sort of. Pick one that’s opaque, UPF-rated and large enough to cover your entire body. “But even if you sit under it all day, you still need to reapply sunscreen every two hours,” Dr Nazarian says. A recent Johnson & Johnson study found that people were more likely to get burnt sitting under an umbrella without SPF than sitting directly in the sun with SPF, because shade doesn’t block UV light from all angles.
True or false? Avoiding sunbathing will protect me from skin cancer.
Sadly false. According to Cancer Council Australia, about two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer by the time they turn 70.
True or false? I need to apply sunscreen to my hair.
True. You need to apply it to your part, because it’s especially vulnerable to sun damage. Lightweight spray sunscreens for scalp and hair will protect this delicate skin while preventing a greasy look (try Aveda Suncare Hair Veil)
True or false? The most common place to develop skin cancer is the hands.
False. The deadliest form, melanoma, is most often found in women on the legs, possibly because we skimp on SPF when wearing shorts, skirts and dresses.
True or false? Getting a base tan is useful protection before going on a beach holiday.
False. You can’t ‘prep’ skin for an onslaught of sun exposure. If skin changes colour (brown, red or anything in between) that means you are accruing damage. “Every time you expose yourself to UV, there’s a risk of mutation that could cause cancer,” Dr Nazarian says.
True or false? A high SPF doesn’t need to be applied as often as a low one.
False. You need to reapply both every two hours.
© Prevention Australia
First published: 17 Feb 2020