Sun Care Basics

The beach in sunshine with a large beach umbrella in the corner

Did you know Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world?Currently, 2 in 3 Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. 

Our climate! Our higher UV levels! Our love of the outdoors! All factors that contribute to this and which mean we need to be extra careful when it comes to protecting ourselves from the sun. 

But sometimes all the sun care advice and all the products can seem overwhelming so we thought it was important to break down some basic need-to-know sun care info. Hopefully this will make it easier for you to know how to keep yourself and the ones you love safe in the sun.

Key rules

  1. You should apply your sunscreen 20 minutes before exposure and reapply it every two hours and after swimming or sweating
  2. If possible, you should avoid being in the sun when it’s at its hottest (between 11am and 3pm).
  3. Sunscreen isn’t enough! Remember the 5 S’s …. 
  • Slip on clothing that covers as much skin as possible
  • Slop on SPF30 (or higher) broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
  • Slap on a Broad-brimmed hat that shades the face, ears and neck
  • Seek shade
  • Slide on sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard for UV protection

Side note: anyone else have Sid the Seagull and his Slip Slop Slap imprinted in their brains from childhood!?!?

Now, let’s talk SPF

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. 

The SPF numbers on your sunscreen bottle relate to the amount of UVB protection the product offers. SPF15 blocks around 93% of UVB rays, SPF30 blocks around 97% and SPF50 blocks around 98%. 

It’s important to know that a higher SPF doesn’t last any longer than a lower one – the only difference between them is the percentage of UV rays that they are filtering. SPF15 sunscreen filters about 93% of UV radiation, SPF30 filters about 97% and SPF50 filters 98%. 

It is recommended you use at least a SPF30 - you go to the effort of putting it on, might as well maximise it’s protection, right!?

You might also see Broad Spectrum on your sunscreen bottle ….. that means the sunscreen is going to protect you from both UVA and UVB rays, filtering both UVA and UVB radiation. (You definitely want Broad Spectrum! Always get the Broad Spectrum!)

So now you might be asking what is the difference between UVA and UVB rays?! 

Ultraviolet A (UVA)

UVA penetrates the deeper layers of the skin and are the main cause of wrinkles and sun ageing and increased risk of skin cancer. UVA rays are always present and have an impact even when the sun isn’t shining and through clouds and windows. 

Ultraviolet B (UVAB)

UVB rays are greater on sunny days during the summer. They damage the top layer of the skin and can result in sunburn and skin cancer.


The key point! You need sunscreen even when it's cloudy. UVA rays have an impact all year round therefore your skin needs year-round protection.

So be safe and enjoy that sunshine! ☀️

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