Top sun safety tips for summer

How well do you know your sun protection basics?

You can’t beat a great Kiwi summer, but it’s important to keep your family safe from sun damage while you’re out enjoying the warmer weather.

The Health Promotion Agency (HPA) advises all Kiwis to remember to slip, slop, slap and wrap. That means slipping into a long-sleeved shirt and into the shade, slopping on sunscreen, slapping on a hat and using wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes as well.

That’s not all we can do to prevent sun damage, though – here are a few ways you can go above and beyond this summer:

Lead by example

If your kids see you using sun protection every day, they’re more likely to as well. Make it as easy as possible by buying sunscreen you know they’ll like and use, and “encourage them to use more than sunscreen to protect themselves,” says the HPA’s Kath Blair.

“Take them shopping for a hat, sunglasses and clothing they think are fashionable and want to wear.”

Use sunscreen properly

“Sunscreen is an important factor in avoiding sunburn, skin damage and skin cancers, but it should not be used as means of staying out in the sun longer,” says Ms Blair.

Look for broad spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30. To make the most of it, apply 20 minutes before you go out and reapply every two hours, or after contact with water or sweat.

The HPA recommends using 35mls of sunscreen for the whole body during each application – that’s about 7 teaspoons each time, or roughly the amount you can hold in a cupped hand.

Sun protection myths

Remember, you’ll still need to be protected even if it doesn’t feel hot outside.

“New Zealand has a temperate climate and the cooler temperatures can mislead people into thinking it is safe not to use sun protection. The truth is there is no relationship between temperature and UV radiation,” says Ms Blair.

Look out for the sun protection alert to find out when you need to slip, slop, slap and wrap each day.

The Sun Protection Alert is available from the start of daylight saving through to April, on, MetService weather apps and your daily newspapers.

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