Is Your Skin Ready For Summer?

Did you know Australia is the skin cancer capital of the World? In Fact, around half a million skin cancer are treated every year nationwide.

But do we still need sun protection in early Spring or when the sun isn’t out? And how long can we soak up the sunshine before we experience skin damage?

The sun’s UV radiation is the leading cause of skin cancer, and we generally require sun protection when UV levels reach 3 or above.

But many people are surprised to learn that UV levels can remain above 3 from September to April in Victoria, even on cool or cloudy days.

At this level, just 10 minutes of unprotected sun exposure is enough to cause cell damage which leads to skin ageing, pigmentation and skin cancer.

Is your skin ready for Summer?

You don’t need to be sunburnt to experience skin damage.

“It takes small amounts of sun – being outside for a few minutes, driving your car, hanging out washing,” says Dr Zarli Kyaw at the Berwick and Officer Skin Cancer Centres.

Dr Kyaw says it is ideal to get a skin cancer check before the start of summer.

“It is often easier for us to find suspicious lesions without the disguise of your summer tan.”

He says annual skin checks are important for early detection and can produce potentially life-saving results, especially for people at high risk.

You are at high risk if you are over 55, have light hair or light-coloured eyes, have a fair complexion, have a family or personal history of skin cancer, work outdoors or enjoy outdoor activities, or have ever been sunburnt or used a tanning bed.

For these people, experts recommend total body photography to detect skin cancer at its earliest stage.

“With something as serious and life-threatening as skin cancer, the earlier we detect it, the higher the chances are of successful treatment,” says Dr Kyaw.

“It’s important to take the appropriate steps from prevention to detection all year round.”