We have put together a list of some of the most common questions we get asked. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for, contact us.
- Where can I find the latest statistics on skin cancer in Australia?
- Can you recommend a skin cancer clinic?
- Can SunSmart come to my event?
- Can SunSmart provide free sunscreen or sunscreen samples?
- When can’t children play outside?
- Is SPF50 sunscreen better than SPF30 sunscreen?
- It wasn’t hot, so why did I get sunburnt?
- Will I become vitamin D deficient if I use sun protection?
- Does SunSmart have any shade grants?
- I got sunburnt a lot as a child, is it too late to protect my skin now?
QUESTION 1: Where can I find the latest statistics on skin cancer in Australia?
Cancer Council Australia's Skin Cancer Statistics and Issues website is a peer-reviewed site that provides the most recent information about skin cancer prevention in Australia, including statistics.
QUESTION 2: Can you recommend a skin cancer clinic?
There are many skin cancer clinics available, offering a variety of services and fee arrangements. Doctors (GPs) – not dermatologists – are more likely to operate skin clinics. Cancer Council Victoria does not recommend any individual skin check service providers or skin cancer clinics. Refer to our guide to skin clinics for more information.
QUESTION 3: Can SunSmart come to my event?
SunSmart is a program run by Cancer Council Victoria, a not-for-profit organisation, that relies on fundraising and donations and as such we are unable to provide sponsorship.
SunSmart can help by providing advice, information and tools to make your event as sun safe as possible for attendees/participants and staff/volunteers. Please visit the Events & festivals page for details.
QUESTION 4: Can SunSmart provide sunscreen or sunscreen samples?
As SunSmart is a program run by Cancer Council Victoria (a not-for profit, that relies on fundraising and donations) we unfortunately do not have the resources to provide free sunscreen.
The full range of Cancer Council sunscreen as well as other sun protection products are available for sale through the Cancer Council shop. If you wish to purchase sunscreen for your event please visit cancercouncilshop.org.au or call 1300 354 144. If you are expecting a large number of people at your event sometimes pump packs of sunscreen at a key location (e.g. entry point, registration table, information stand) may be the most cost-effective option.
For more information and suggestions to make your event as sun safe as possible please visit the Event & festivals page.
QUESTION 5: When can’t children play outside?
Active outdoor play is very important for overall health and development. We do not ask you to restrict outdoor play but to ensure children are well protected whenever they are outside during the sun protection times by using appropriate sun protective clothing, hats, sunscreen and shade.
QUESTION 6: Is SPF50 sunscreen better than SPF30 sunscreen?
SunSmart recommends choosing a sunscreen that is at least SPF30 or higher, broad-spectrum and water-resistant.
All SPF30 and SPF50 sunscreens offer very similar UVB protection i.e. approx 97% of UVB is blocked if the sunscreen is applied correctly.
According to the TGA regulations and Australian Standards Test protocol a broad-spectrum sunscreen must block more than 90% of UVA rays. An SPF30 sunscreen blocks 96.7% of UV and transmits the remaining 3.3%. An SPF50 sunscreen blocks 98% of UV. To learn more, see our Sunscreen information sheet.
QUESTION 7: It wasn’t hot, so why did I get sunburnt?
It’s the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation – not heat – that causes sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage and skin damage, which can ultimately lead to skin cancer. UV cannot be seen or felt. It is not like the sun’s light which we see, or the sun’s warmth (infrared radiation) which we feel. Because we can’t sense UV radiation, we won’t know it’s damaged our skin until it’s already too late.
The best way to make sure that you’re going to be protected when you need to be is to check the sun protection times on the free SunSmart app and use a combination of the five sun protection steps during these times.
QUESTION 8: Will I become vitamin D deficient if I use sun protection?
Vitamin D levels can vary throughout the seasons for Victorians. The amount of UV exposure needed to maintain vitamin D levels depends on the time of year, location, skin type and current vitamin D level.
Between September and April in Victoria (when UV levels are generally high), a combination of sun protection measures should be used – even for people who have been diagnosed with a vitamin D deficiency. During this time of year, most people make enough vitamin D because UV levels are high and more time is spent outdoors. During these months, most Victorians need just a few minutes of mid-morning or mid-afternoon sun exposure for their vitamin D needs, being extra cautious in the middle of the day when UV levels are most intense.
From May to August in Victoria (when UV levels are generally low) sun protection is not recommended, so people are encouraged to be outdoors around midday each day, with some skin uncovered. Being physically active outdoors will also help boost vitamin D levels.
People who work outdoors for long periods of time may need sun protection all year, as they have an increased risk of skin cancer. Sun protection may also be required when near reflective surfaces (such as snow), or if UV levels reach 3 or higher.
Find out more about vitamin D.
QUESTION 9: Can SunSmart have any shade grants?
SunSmart is a program run by Cancer Council Victoria, a not-for-profit organisation, that relies on fundraising and donations and as such we are unable to provide shade grants. However you can find funding suggestions and grant programs listed on our website. You will need to do your own research to ensure you fit the criteria. SunSmart can provide information about natural and built shade and conducting a shade audit to help you choose the most appropriate shade for your setting.
QUESTION 10: I got sunburnt a lot as a child, is it too late to protect my skin now?
It’s never too late to improve your sun protection habits and cut your skin cancer risk. While sun exposure in the first 10 years of life determines a person's lifetime potential for skin cancer, sun exposure in later life determines the extent to which this potential is realised. You can reduce your risk of skin cancer at any age by improving your sun protection use, whether you are 15 or 50.