But on a bright summer day, direct exposure to sunlight can cause sunburn in as quick as 15 minutes. Whether you’re at the beach swimming or catching some waves, playing rugby, or simply enjoying the views this summer in Australia, here, we will go into the best ways to enjoy the sun safely.
The skin cancer capital
Coined the skin cancer capital of the world, Australia has the highest incidence rates of the disease. According to the Cancer Council Australia, skin cancer accounts for over 80% of all new cancer diagnoses each year. Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.
Luckily, skin cancer is almost entirely preventable. For decades, many awareness campaigns have been live to inform Australians of the best way to keep their skin safe. However, there are still many misconceptions about skin cancer and sun protection. It’s estimated that sun exposure is the cause of around 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95% of melanomas in Australia.
However, it’s also known that exposure to small amounts of sunlight is essential to having good health. For outdoor fitness and sports enthusiasts, it is possible to achieve a balance between sun safety, while reducing the risk of skin cancer and maintaining adequate vitamin D exposure.
Protection in the sun
When exercising outdoors or playing sports in the water, traditional sunscreen is not always resistant to sweat and water. It can fade away quickly, leaving you unprotected from UV rays. Many companies offer sun protection alternatives, which can allow you to protect your skin from UV exposure.
For example, SkinAlive formulates sunscreen to meet the highest standards for UVA/UVB protection in Australia and New Zealand. The company provides surfers, golfers and outdoor workers with a specific sunscreen designed for their sporting and outdoor environments.
Aside from sunscreen, sun-protective clothing can be another great alternative when outdoors. Solbari is an Australian company that produces effective and stylish UPF 50+ clothing and accessories.
Sports organisations can help too
Outdoor sports enthusiasts are prone to spending more time in the sun. Because of the potential for long training hours outdoors and competing, sports clubs can also take steps to ensure UV protection for all.
Cancer Council NSW issued a sample sun protection policy for sporting organisations and clubs to develop policy suited for the nature of their sports. Many sports organisations in Australia, such as the National Rugby League, have implemented custom sun protection policies to provide a practical approach to limiting UV exposure while athletes train and compete.
Reduce your risk
Recently, a survey published from the Skin Cancer Health Institute says that only one in 12 Australians will prioritise a skin check, ranking this importance behind a visit to the GP, dentist, or blood or eye check.
Sun safety, sunscreen and routine skin checks can be the best way to both prevent skin cancer and detect it at an earlier stage when it’s easier to cure and less expensive to treat.