Why you need sun protection all year round

Cancer Council NSW
Sun shining through trees covered in autumn leaves.

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is hard to understand because you can’t see it or feel it, but it can still damage your skin and causes 95% of skin cancers in Australia.

Confused? So was I…

The sun emits sunlight (that we can see), infrared radiation (that we feel as heat), and UV radiation (that can’t be seen or felt). It is the UV radiation that causes skin damage, not infrared radiation (temperature), meaning even though the weather is getting cooler, UV radiation can still damage our unprotected skin.

More simply… Sun protection is needed whenever UV is 3 or above not just in summer or when the weather is warm! In NSW, the UV is high enough to damage your skin for over 10 months of the year, so make sun protection part of your daily routine. Every. Day.

Map of Australia showing the average UV index during autumn at midday.

This image from the Bureau of Meteorology shows the average UV index across Australia during autumn at midday.

The UV index provides a measure of the intensity of the sun’s UV radiation levels for any given day. The UV index ranges from 0 (none, e.g. at night) to 11+, which is extreme.

When the UV index reaches 3, sun protection is required for the general population so continue to use all five of sun protection methods, even when the weather gets cooler.

  • SLIP on sun smart clothing.
  • SLOP on SPF 30 or higher sunscreen.
  • SLAP on a sun smart hat.
  • SEEK shade.
  • SLIDE on sunglasses. 

Check your daily local UV levels and sun protection times like I do via the SunSmart App which is available on the App Store and Google Play. The SunSmart App includes:

  • More than 600 locations across Australia. I save a few locations and switch between them to find local protection requirements depending what suburb I’m in.
  • A four-day UV forecast to help you plan ahead.
  • Customisable sun protection alerts to give you the option to get reminders on certain days and times.
  • A sunscreen calculator and re-application reminders, with the option to add multiple profiles for multiple users.

Remember, it’s never too late to practice good sun protection. When UV is 3 or above – protect your skin in five ways.

Visit our Skin Protection page

/Public Release. View in full here.