For best protection, Cancer Council Australia recommends a combination of sun protection measures:
Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen. Put it on 20 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. Sunscreen should never be used to extend the time you spend in the sun.
Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
Slide on some sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.
Cancer Council recommends using sunscreen every day on days when the UV index is forecasted to be 3 or above. Sunscreen should be incorporated into your daily morning routine on these days.
Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before exposure to UV in order to create the intended protective barrier. It should be applied liberally and evenly to clean and dry skin.
For an adult, the recommended application is 5ml (approximately one teaspoon) for each arm, leg, body front, body back and face (including neck and ears). That equates to a total of 35ml (approximately seven teaspoons) for a full body application.
When spending time outdoors, Sunscreen should always be reapplied at least every two hours, irrespective of the water resistance of the sunscreen. Swimming, sport, sweating and towel drying can reduce the effectiveness of the product, so sunscreen should always be reapplied after these activities.
While effective when used the right way, it is difficult to correctly apply aerosol sunscreen to get adequate protection. For this reason, Cancer Council does not recommend using aerosol sunscreens.
Sunscreen isn’t a suit of armour. It should be used alongside protective clothing, a broadbrim hat, shade and sunglasses.