Outside workers need optimal protection all the year round.
Outside workers need optimal protection all the year round.

Are you using this much sunscreen?

THE life-saving sun-safe message is getting lost, with Queenslanders making vital mistakes like soaking up too much sun to boost their vitamin D.

As the Sunshine State holds the unenviable title of skin cancer capital of the world, the Cancer Council has warned against misguided notions that are causing people to get burnt and risk deadly melanoma.

An average of 85 people a day are being hospitalised in the state for skin cancers and last year 3218 were treated for malignant melanoma.

New research from the Cancer Council out today highlights where sun safety is falling over.

The latest data from the National Sun Protection Survey shows that nearly 40 per cent of adults who have been sunburnt said it was because they stayed in the sun too long, and one in three reported they have been burnt because they either forgot to use sun protection or didn't think they needed it.

Over 15 per cent of women and almost 10 per cent of men say they had adapted their sun protection to get more vitamin D.

Cancer Council Australia prevention adviser Craig Sinclair said: "The average Australian will get enough vitamin D in summer in a matter of minutes through everyday activities, such as hanging out washing, grabbing a coffee or walking to the car.

"Research has shown prolonged sun exposure does not cause vitamin D levels to continue to increase but it does increase the risk of skin cancer."


Use 35ml of sunscreen on every application
Use 35ml of sunscreen on every application


"Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime and these results show that we still have a long way to go when it comes to protecting ourselves from the sun.

"With nearly 40 per cent sunburnt adults saying staying in the sun too long was their reason for sunburn, it is important to remember no sunscreen is a suit of armour and it should never be used to extend your time in the sun.

"During summer, when UV levels are extreme, you should plan activities for earlier in the morning or in the evening, when UV levels are generally lower and always make sure you adequately protect yourself."

Adequate sun protection means using five measures of sun protection - slip on protective clothing, slop on minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, slap on a broadbrimmed hat, seek shade and slide on wraparound sunglasses.

Almost 30 per cent of people in the survey said they got burnt as they forget to reapply sunscreen or missed a spot.

"The average-sized adult needs around a teaspoon of sunscreen for their head and neck, each limb and for the front and the back of the body," Mr Sinclair said.

"That is about 35ml or seven teaspoons of sunscreen for one full body application.

"It should be applied 20 minutes before you go outside, and reapplied again every two hours or after swimming or towel-drying."




■ A few minutes' sun exposure to arms and hands can maintain vitamin D

■ Being physically active outdoors gardening or walking boosts vitamin D

■ For vitamin D deficiency talk to doctor about supplementation

■ Hats, sunscreen, shade, clothing and sunglasses are vital when outside in UV levels above 3

■ Outdoor workers need all-year protection regardless of UV level

■ Use 35ml sunscreen for each full-body application

Source: Cancer Council