I can’t get sunburnt on a cloudy day.
False. You can get sunburnt on a cloudy day. UV radiation still gets through light cloud cover, so unprotected skin can be damaged.
I can’t get sunburnt on a cold day.
False. You can get sunburnt on a cold day. You cannot feel UV radiation. The temperature you feel is the result of infrared radiation (or heat) from the sun, which unlike UV radiation gets blocked by cloud.
You can also get sunburnt on ski fields, because snow can reflect more UV radiation than most other ground surfaces.
Learn more about UV radiation.
I get burnt more easily at the beach because of high reflection of UV radiation from the sea.
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 UV radiation
- not well covered by clothes
- not close to shade like buildings or trees
- may be there for an extended period of time.
I'm windburnt not sunburnt.
False. Your windburn is probably sunburn. The wind may make you feel cooler, but as UV radiation is not related to temperature, it can still be high, even on a windy or cool day.
UV cannot be felt and is not related to temperature.
Getting sunburnt isn’t that bad.
False. Sunburn at any age should be avoided. Sunburn is painful and it may increase your risk of developing skin cancer later in life.
Be SunSmart yourself and encourage others in your care to protect their skin and eyes from September to April.
Sunburn is painful and potentially deadly. Avoid getting sunburnt – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
Wearing a t-shirt in the water is sun protective.
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.
I only need to be SunSmart if I’m going outside for a long time.
False. It is possible to get sunburnt in a very short time. When UV radiation levels are high, damage to people with light coloured skin can occur in as little as 12 minutes.
My makeup has SPF, so I’m safe all day.
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 that recommended for sunscreen 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.
I don’t need to worry about sun protection for areas like my forearms, hands and feet.
False. It is important to protect all of your skin (and your eyes). Use all the SunSmart steps – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
A baseball cap or visor gives me good sun protection.
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.
A suntan is healthy.
False. A suntan means your skin has been damaged. This increases your risk of developing a skin cancer later in life.
I can’t get sunburnt when I’m in or around the water.
False. Water offers minimal protection from UV radiation. About 40% of UV radiation can still reach the body 0.5 metres below the water surface.
I won’t get sunburnt if I take regular breaks while I’m sunbathing.
False. Taking breaks while sunbathing does not prevent sunburn. UV radiation exposure accumulates throughout the day, regardless of breaks. Avoid sunburn and be SunSmart – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
I can’t get sunburnt through glass.
False. Some types of glass (e.g., tinted glass) can reduce UV radiation, but they do 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.
I can’t get sunburnt in the winter.
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 and ice can reflect more UV radiation than most other ground surface, which increases your risk of skin and eye damage.
I don’t need to worry about sunburn as I have dark skin.
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.
I’ve had sunburn before, but now I protect myself. That means I’m safe from developing skin cancer.
False. UV radiation damage adds up over your lifetime. The good news is that it’s never too late to be SunSmart. To prevent further UV radiation damage be SunSmart – Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap.
Sunscreen blocks out all UV radiation.
False. No sunscreen filters out all UV radiation. You need to limit your time in the sun no matter what sunscreen you’re using.
Sunscreen sprays are easier to spread than lotions.
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 and check coverage.
It's OK to store sunscreen in my glove box.
False. It’s best to follow the recommended storage instructions on your sunscreen packaging. Sunscreen should be stored below 30 degrees Celsius. 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.
Putting sunscreen on once in the morning means I’m protected all day.
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.
Using a sunscreen with SPF50 means I can stay outside much longer than if I use a sunscreen with SPF15.
False. A high-number SPF does not mean you can spend more time outside without reapplying your sunscreen. The SPF tells you how much of the sun's rays is filtered, not how long it will last. 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.
Sunscreen is all I need to protect myself from the sun.
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.