Mythbusters

Understanding common myths and misinformation about sun safety might reduce your risk of sun damage.
False. You can still get sunburnt on a cloudy day. UV radiation can get through light cloud cover, so unprotected skin can still be damaged.

False. You can still get sunburnt on a cold day. UV radiation can still be high on a cool day when infrared radiation, which causes the heat from the sun, is low.

You can also get sunburnt on ski fields, because snow reflects more UV radiation than any other ground surface.

Learn more about UV radiation.

False. Water only reflects about 5% to 10% of UV radiation. The reason you're more likely to get burnt at the beach is because you're: 

 

  • exposed to direct UV radiation
  • probably not well covered up by clothes
  • probably not close to shade like buildings or trees.

False. Your windburn is actually sunburn. The wind may make you feel cooler, but UV radiation can still be high, even on a windy day.

If there was such a thing as windburn you’d get windburnt if you were out in the dark on a windy night.

False. Sunburn at any age should be avoided. Sunburn is painful and it may increase your risk of skin cancer later in life.

Be SunSmart yourself and encourage others in your care to protect their skin and eyes from September to April.

Learn more about sunburn.

Sunburn is painful and potentially deadly. Avoid getting sunburnt – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

Learn more about skin cancer.

False. If you are going to be in the water, a rash shirt and sunscreen is a good form of protection. A full body wetsuit gives even better protection. A wet t-shirt may offer only half the protection it does when it is dry.

False. It is possible to get sunburnt in a very short time. When UV levels are high, damage to fair skin can occur in as little as 11 or 12 minutes.

Check the Sun Protection Alert, NIWA UV forecasts, and uv2Day app for details about the time each day that you need to protect your skin and eyes.

False. Cosmetics and moisturisers with SPF can help protect you from the sun’s damaging rays. However, many cosmetics offer protection that is much lower than the recommended sunscreen minimum of SPF30. Also, many cosmetics are not broad-spectrum or water resistant.

In addition to wearing SPF makeup, use all the SunSmart steps – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

False. It is important to protect all of your skin (and your eyes). Use all the SunSmart steps – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
False. A baseball cap or visor does not protect your chin, ears or neck. Visors don’t protect your scalp. A hat with a wide brim is the best hat to protect you from the sun.
False. A tan means your skin has been damaged, which increases your risk of skin cancer.
False. Water offers minimal protection from UV radiation. Reflection from water can increase your exposure to UV radiation.
False. Taking breaks while sunbathing does not prevent sunburn. Avoid sunburn and be SunSmart – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
False. Glass reduces UV radiation, but does not block it. If you spend long periods in a car or next to a window receiving direct sunlight you should be SunSmart - Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
False. You can get sunburnt in the winter, especially if you are at high altitude (for example, on a ski field). At higher altitudes there is less atmosphere to filter UV radiation. In addition, snow reflects more UV radiation than any other ground surface, which increases your risk of skin and eye damage.
False. New Zealand can have periods of very high UV radiation. Everyone, regardless of skin type and colour, is at risk of skin and eye damage.
False. UV damage adds up over your lifetime. The good news is that it’s never too late to be SunSmart. To prevent further UV damage be SunSmart – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

Sunscreen

False. No sunscreen filters out all UV radiation. You need to limit your time in the sun no matter what sunscreen you’re using.

Learn more about sunscreen.

False. Whether you use a spray or a lotion it is important to spread them uniformly over the skin after application. This is easier to do with lotions than with sprays. If you use a spray – you need to do more than a quick ‘squirt’. You need to rub it in.
False. It’s best to follow the recommended storage instructions on your sunscreen packaging. Sunscreen can get hot in your car’s glove box and in your sports bag. This means it might not work as well as it should.
False. You need to reapply your sunscreen every two hours, as well as after swimming or sweating. Use all the SunSmart steps - Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
False. A high-number SPF does not mean you can spend more time outside without reapplying your sunscreen. All sunscreens should be reapplied every two hours, as well as after swimming or sweating. Use all the SunSmart steps - Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
False. It's important to use all the SunSmart steps - Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.

Where else can I find answers to my questions?

The Cancer Council Australia's I-heard website was created to dispel stories, rumours and claims about cancer.

Your question may have already been asked or you can ask any cancer-related question. Their experts will review your query.