19 September 2019
Backyards are made to be enjoyed, it’s a fact. But do you know how to best enjoy time in your backyard when the UV is 3 and above?
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Every year, over 2,000 Australians die from this almost entirely preventable disease.
Whether you enjoy a lunch on the deck, a kick of the footy or even giving the weeds a once over, it’s important to consider protecting your skin from damaging UV radiation whenever you’re enjoying the outdoors.
What is UV?
UV is energy from the sun that can’t be seen or felt. UV is different to heat, which means that even on cool and cloudy days, you may need to protect your skin.
The UV levels can be categorised using the UV Index which is divided into low (1–2), moderate (3–5), high (6–7), very high (8–10) and extreme (11+).
Every time you are outdoors unprotected when the UV is 3 and above, you are doing damage to your skin and increasing your skin cancer risk. The damage is permanent, irreversible and it all adds up.
Because you cannot see or feel UV radiation, this means damage to the skin can occur without you knowing—even when you are not exposed to direct sun.
UV can even cause damage through reflection. Some building and ground surfaces such as polished aluminium, construction materials, lightly coloured concrete and water can reflect UV radiation back onto the skin and eyes. The amount of UV that is reflected varies depending on the surface/material:
It is important to consider the risk of skin damage from reflected (or indirect) UV radiation and use additional sun protection measures, even when under shaded areas. Even the smaller amounts of reflected UV add up over time.
How to protect your skin
Once the UV Index reaches a moderate level (3 and above), it is strong enough to cause damage to unprotected skin and the higher the Index, the less time it takes for skin damage to occur.
Even doing some short and simple tasks—like mowing the lawn or hanging out the washing—can leave you at risk of skin damage if you aren’t protected.
Here are 6 handy hits and our top tips to help you best enjoy time in your backyard when the UV is 3 and above:
- Check the UV levels and sun protection times to find out when you need to be protected. Remember—temperature is not an indicator of risk.
- Host activities in the shade. Staying in the shade of a tree, patio or even pop-up sun-shade is a great way to reduce your overall UV exposure and skin damage. Don’t forget to also make use of ambient blinds to help reduce the impact of UV reflection.
- Wear protective clothing. Long sleeves and pants, hats and sunglasses offer a great barrier between your skin and harmful UV. You can get some great light-weight clothing to wear when the weather is warm, just shop around and shop smart!
- Apply and reapply your sunscreen. Make sure you apply a SPF 30 or higher broad spectrum sunscreen 20 minutes before heading outdoors and regularly reapply every two hours, after swimming, sweating or towel drying.
- Avoid being outdoors in the peak UV times of the day (solar noon). Spend time in your backyard in the early morning and late evening to avoid exposure when the UV is at its highest. Remember UV tends to peak before the heat does. Why not plan twilight activities to beat the UV and heat?
- Combine your sun protection. To offer your skin the best protection against UV, go all-in by seeking shade, wearing sunnies, protective hat and clothing and applying sunscreen. Your skin will thank you for it!
By following these tips, you will give your skin the best chance to be cancer free.
Hosting a Stratco National Patio Day event? Be sure to share these handy hints and tips with your guests to help keep their skin safe.
Haven’t heard about National Patio Day? Find out more and register to host here.