Sun safety this summer!

I love a sunburnt country,

A land of sweeping plains,

Of ragged mountain ranges,

Of droughts and flooding rains.

I love her far horizons,

I love her jewel-sea,

Her beauty and her terror

The wide brown land for me!

– Dorothea Mackellar (1908)

More than 2,000 Australians die each year from skin cancer by being exposed to the sun over time. In fact, two in three people will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70 years of age.

Despite years of evidence and research showing that exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun causes cancer, many of us are not heeding the message.

The skin is the largest organ in the body – it needs oxygen, a blood supply, it helps protects us and keeps everything on the inside where it's supposed to be – so we need to take care of it.

Exposure to repeated and prolonged ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun will damage the skin cells, alter its growth and repair and can lead to cancerous tumours.

There is an international standard, known as the UV Index and the higher the number, the higher the risk of skin damage and the greater likelihood of developing skin cancer later in life. The North Queensland UV index ranges from eight (8) to 14 – anything higher than three (3) requires protection and control measures.

Often we won't see the damage come to the surface of our skin for another decade or so. But what if you could?

Check out the new app from SunSmart called seeUV, which uses augmented reality to show you what your skin could look like if you don't protect it from the sun.

The app seeUV is also a warning tool for current UV levels. Although you can't see or feel UV, the app uses the current temperature and UV readings to depict the strength of UV rays in your environment – the more red rays dancing across your screen, the greater the UV damage danger at that location – telling you to Slip! Slop! Slap! Seek! Slide!

  1. Slip on sun protective clothing that covers as much of your body as possible.
  2. Slop on SPF 30 or higher broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen, at least 20 minutes before sun exposure. Re-apply every two hours when outdoors or more often if perspiring or swimming.
  3. Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears.
  4. Seek shade.
  5. Slide on sunglasses.
  6. Slurp for hydration.