AUS: 1300 630 488    NZ: 0800 1477 6287

Tips for a sun smart Australian summer

Sometimes there’s no escaping the stifling heat and humidity at this time of year, but as the UV index soars it’s important to proactively protect your precious skin. Here we discuss some of the dangers and offer our top tips for a sun smart Australian summer.

Sun exposure is a serious matter. While Australians love the great outdoors and relish any opportunity to soak up the sunshine, we can’t afford to be complacent about the potential health risks of exposing our skin to harmful UV light.

In summer that risk factor is only heightened. The powerful UV rays penetrate outer layers of your skin with cells containing the protective pigment melanin, eventually reaching deeper layers of the skin and damaging or killing skin cells. This can lead to sunburn, reduced elasticity, premature aging, and most concerningly skin cancer. 

Here are a few precautions you can take to help prevent potentially dangerous skin damage caused by overexposure to the sun.  


The period from 11am to 3pm is generally the hottest and most dangerous part of the day. In summer temperatures consistently soar well above 30°C, while peak daily UV values regularly enter the range considered extreme.  

To protect your skin, it’s worth trying to stay out of the sun during these times as much as possible. If you are going to be outdoors, look for shady areas to sit, stand or walk. No matter how beautiful the day, it’s never a good idea to actively seek out the sun for any length of time. In fact, even five to ten minutes of sun exposure can begin to damage your skin. 

Although the middle of the day is best avoided, it’s certainly not an outdoor free-for-all throughout the other hours. Your skin can still be affected by the sun in the morning or late afternoon, and also when the sun appears hidden by cloud cover or overcast skies. Just because you can’t see the sun, it doesn’t mean you’re not getting sunburnt. 


First launched by Cancer Council in 1981 and updated in 2007 as part of the SunSmart program, the popular ‘Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide’ health campaign is always your best guide to sun-smart decision-making.  

So regardless of your age you should always try to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade, and slide on your sunglasses when going outside. Your specific choices matter too. Ideally you should wear a long-sleeved shirt with a collar to cover your neck, a wide-brimmed or floppy hat that protects your whole face, and wraparound sunglasses with UV blocking lenses – not whichever sunnies feel the most fashionable! As for your selection of sunscreen, SPF50+ is most effective and realistically the only recommended option.  

What if you’ve already started a daytime adventure and you don’t have access to all five important sun-smart methods? See if you can buy or borrow what you need, and at the very least make sure you use what’s available.