At the snow, near water or in alpine regions
Reflective surfaces, such as water and snow, increase your risk of sun damage as these surfaces also reflect ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In some cases you can almost get a double dose of UV – directly from the sun and then through reflection.
In fact, clean snow reflects up to 90% of UV radiation and that UV gets 4% stronger for each 300m rise in altitude? The Australian Alps are 1800–2300m above sea level and the levels of UV are 24–28% stronger.
The beach and community or backyard pools are also major hot spots for sunburn as when you are near water, UV can reach you on the rebound, by bouncing off reflective surfaces such as sand, water, concrete and tiles.
Whether on the slopes, at the coast or on the mountains, check out our top tips and learn before you burn!
Extreme UV needs extreme protection
All the above examples highlight occasions when you can be exposed to extreme UV. Follow our simple tips to ensure you are covered!
- Plan your day using the SunSmart UV Alert. Find it here, at bom.gov.au/uv or as a free app, all of which let you know the times of the day that you need sun protection.
- Slip! Slop! Slap! Seek! Slide! Use the five steps together for maximum sun protection. And remember to follow our guidelines so you use each one correctly!
- Apply SPF30+, broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen and lip balm at least 20 minutes before going outside to protect any part of my body that is exposed.
- Reapply every two hours – put a small tube of sunscreen in your jacket pocket or bag.
- Invest in a good quality beach shade shelter that's big enough for the whole family. If it's easy to set up and pull down, lightweight and portable, you can keep it in the car and use regularly.
- Check if your local pool allows BYO shade. Will they allow you to go home and return later when the UV is not so strong?
- Buy swimwear that covers as much skin as possible. Rash vests and board shorts are popular and sun protective. Check they are in good condition, as worn out swimwear is thin and less protective.
- Try to take breaks undercover during the middle part of the day.