Most of us have grown up with the Slip Slop Slap message (which now also includes Seek and Slide) – but many of us are still confused by what it actually means and when we need to use it!
Sun exposure is the cause of around 99% of non-melanoma skin cancers and 95% of melanoma skin cancers in Australia.
How? The sun emits different types of radiation - visible light or sunlight that we see, infrared radiation (heat) that we feel, and ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can't be seen or felt. Because our senses can’t detect UV, it can be damaging us without us knowing!
What’s UVA and UVB?
There are two types of UV radiation that reach the Earth's surface - UVA and UVB. UV radiation causes sunburn, premature ageing of the skin (no thanks!), eye damage and skin cancer.
Each time your unprotected skin is overexposed to UV radiation, it damages the DNA in the skin cells. Overexposure to UV radiation permanently damages the skin and the damage gets worse with each exposure to UV radiation.
So, protecting our skin is very important!
Slip on some long clothing, Slap on a wide brim hat (caps don’t provide enough cover), Slop on some sunscreen, Seek shade and Slide on your sunnies.
We need to protect ourselves whenever the UV Index is above 3… but when exactly is that?
This is where our free SunSmart app (available for iPhone and Android) comes in! The app tells you what times of the day sun protection is recommended for your current location using forecast information from the Bureau of Meteorology and live UV data from ARPANSA.
It also provides 5 essential tools to help you remain #SunSmart all year round (because in many parts of Aus, the midday UV’s above 3 in most months!):
1. Personalisation: Download the app and personalise it with your natural skin type, height, weight, age, gender and location – this helps us to identify how much sun protection you need.
2. Reminders: Set up a sun protection alert and receive daily reminders for the times of day when UV reaches a level that can damage your skin and eyes. You can also receive two-hour reminders to re-apply sunscreen.
3. Sunscreen calculator: Use the sunscreen calculator to find out how much sunscreen you need to apply. Tell the calculator about the outfit you’re wearing so it can work out how much of your skin will still be exposed to ultraviolet (UV) rays. It then calculates how many teaspoons of sunscreen you will need to apply for good sun protection based on the details you have added to the app during personalisation.
4. Vitamin D tracker: Find out how much UV exposure you need for vitamin D.
5. Seven-day weather forecast: Check the weather for the week ahead for any location in Australia.
How does the app work?
• Download the app and select your location in Australia.
• Set up a sun protection alert and receive daily reminders of the times of day sun protection is required.
• Select to receive the alert at the time of your choice or at the exact time the UV is forecast to reach a level that can damage your skin and eyes.
• Use the sunscreen calculator to find out how much sunscreen you need to apply, taking account of your size and clothing.
Check out our top tips for staying safe in the sun, here.