My Skin Centre

Sun exposure FAQ

Sun exposure can be a confusing subject as there is often contradictory opinions and misleading information being given. When it comes to protecting your skin, the most important message we can share is to protect yourself in the sun with clothing, sunscreen and a hat.

In the following article we answer some FAQs about sun exposure, so you can safely enjoy the outdoors.

What happens to my skin in the sun?

When you are out in the sun you could be putting your skin at risk. When the sun’s UV rays make contact with your skin, it can lead to burning and premature ageing. Sunburn is so much more than just a temporary and uncomfortable situation as it can have long term consequences.

When you burn it is a sign of DNA damage, and the process of turning red, blistering or peeling is your bodies way of trying to heal itself. Sun damage can lead to skin cancer and melanoma, but you can take precautions by covering up.

If I use sun protection will I miss out on Vitamin D?

Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones and muscles, as well as strong teeth. While there is a small amount of Vitamin D found in food, the best source comes directly from the sun.

A small amount of sun exposure is all you need, this is approximately 10 minutes a day dependent on where you are located. When the UV levels are below 3, most people do not require sun protection for short periods of time.

Is there any safe way to get a tan?

It can be very tempting to sunbathe for a golden summer glow, but there is no safe way to get a tan. Instead, opt for a bottled version such as a tanning mousse or spray tan. Going without a suntan in the short term could save your life in the long term. Don’t forget, fair skinned beauties are in vogue!

Having a tan won’t prevent you from burning. This is a common myth, and having a tan will give you less than an SPF 2. When you consider the recommended SPF is a minimum of 30+, this is far from adequate.

Why were solariums banned in Australia?

It is now illegal to offer solarium services commercially in Australia. Sunbeds were once a popular way to tan, but can be even more dangerous than the sun itself. They can give you six times more UV radiation than the summer sun, significantly increasing your risk of skin cancer.

If you have ever used a solarium you could have a 59% higher chance of melanoma. It is important you discuss any solarium use with your doctor, and maintain regular skin and mole checks 

How much sunscreen should I be using?

Most people do not use enough sunscreen. This should be used in a combination with other sun protection measures such as a hat, long sleeves and shade. Sunscreen should be applied generously, about 20 minutes before you step outdoors.

An adult would need to use around one teaspoon for their head and neck area, one for each arm and leg, one for the front of the body and one for the back. In addition, you should always read the instructions and re-apply regularly. Sweating and swimming can make sunscreen less effective, so choose a water resistant variety if you are intending to get wet.

How often should I get my skin checked?

You should get in the habit of having your skin and moles checked by a professional at least once a year. Depending on your level of risk, this may be more frequent. In between we recommend monitoring your own skin and noting any changes.

Early diagnosis is key to combating skin cancers, and being proactive could make all the difference.

At My Skin Centre we provide full skin and body checks throughout Perth, WA. Please book an appointment to ensure your skin is healthy.