Sun smart tips

Regardless if you work in an office or outside, as we move into warmer months we tend to spend more time outdoors.  

Most of us are quite conscious of the importance of slip, slop, slap before we spend time in the sun.

However, according to research conducted by the Cancer Council, nearly half of Australian’s aren’t applying sunscreen correctly.  Since 2 in 3 Australian’s will be diagnosed with skin cancer some time in their life, this is a very important skill to master.

Here are the key things to remember when applying sunscreen:

Use daily

Many people think it is unsafe to use sunscreen daily due to the chemical components or because it would limit the benefits of vitamin D absorption.  However, the following key points contradict this:
  • The peak bodies responsible for sun safety advice are now recommending that we apply sunscreen daily, rather than before outdoor activities, due to the high amount of incidental sun exposure we get in Australia.
  • Sunscreens are highly regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration who advise they are safe and effective if used daily.
  • Studies indicate sunscreen has little impact on vitamin D absorption, supporting the recommendation for daily use.

Apply thickly and thoroughly

You will need at least 7 teaspoons (35 mls) of sunscreen to cover your body adequately. This equates to 1 teaspoon per limb and 1 for the front and back of your body and head.

Also, take care to apply to less obvious areas such as ears, toes and in between, front and back of the knees, tops of the hands and feet and exposed scalps or parts.  Lips need special attention as they get quite a bit of incidental sun, so choose a lip balm with an SPF of 30 or more.

Rub sunscreen in until it disappears.  If using a spray-on product, apply until there is a consistent sheen across each exposed area.

Apply and reapply

Shake your sunscreen well before use to integrate the chemicals evenly.  It’s important to apply sunscreen at least half an hour before going into the sun to allow it to bond with the skin and provide maximum coverage.

It’s important to reapply every two hours and more frequently if swimming, sweating and towelling off.  Remember, the two-hour time between applications INCLUDES the half hour of application before going into the sun.

Beauty or protection

Many foundations include ingredients that make it SFP 15 or greater, which is adequate if you have limited incidental exposure during the day.  However, if you are working or planning an activity outdoors additional coverage is required and SPF 30 or higher is recommended.


Although the correct application of sunscreen is fundamental to sun protection, it is not enough on its own.  Go back to the slip, slop slap fundamentals – see the info graphic below:

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