Being Smart About UV Radiation

There are so many reasons why we all love Summer (and early Autumn with our extended heat wave this year!). The sun spikes serotonin levels, alleviating anxiety and boosts vitamin D, great news for our skin teeth and bones. However, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun also has its risks.

Australia’s great outdoors has some of the world’s highest levels of UV radiation. It’s a little-known fact you can suffer a sunburn in as little as 11 minutes on a brilliant summer’s day thanks to UV unless you take sensible precautions.

So, What Exactly is UV?
Ultraviolet (UV) rays are a form of undetectable energy generated by our sun. The sun’s UV is the primary cause of skin cancer yet lower levels of UV damage are still responsible for sunburn, eye damage and premature ageing.

Australia’s UV Index
A smart way to manage your sun exposure is to check the UV Index before you go outside. (See further below about Carroten’s great UV index tool!)

Australia’s UV Index measures daily UV levels using a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). When UV levels exceed 3 (Moderate) or higher, you need to be smart and protect your skin from the sun. Australia’s UV levels fluctuate as they are affected by the time of year it is, the amount of cloud cover,
the time of day you go out, altitude, reflection levels and UV scattering.

Luckily Carroten sunscreens provide broad spectrum UVA/UVB protection from the sun’s harmful rays for your skin. Never leave your skin unprotected, even on those overcast days. So, for glowing and healthy skin the smart way, here are five tips to help you be smart about UV radiation.

1. Use the Correct Sunscreen
Don’t just rest all your hopes and dreams on SPF. Choose a ‘broad spectrum’ or look for a UVA logo together with ‘High’ on the bottle. If you’re unsure about whether to opt for SPF30 ahead of SPF50, SPF30 effectively blocks 97 per cent of UVB rays, compared to 98 per cent for SPF50 sunscreens. Remember to reapply every two hours or after swimming.

2. Take Time Out in the Shade
Taking advantage of the shade to give your skin a break from the sun can reduce the UV intensity reducing your risk of sunburn. Your suntan will be healthier and last longer by breaking up your exposure time.

3. Know Your Tanning Time
After approximately two hours in the sun, your skin achieves its maximum tanning potential. After that, your body has produced as much melanin your tanning pigment as it’s going to. Hence, it’s pointless hanging by the pool all day hoping to work on your tan.

4. Never Rely on a Tan
Tanning offers very little protection from sunburn, roughly around about the same as an SPF3 sunscreen! Manage your exposure by applying SPF30+ sunscreen and don’t rely on your current tan to keep you safe.

5. Fake Your Summer Glow
Apart from being an important step in your skincare routine, exfoliating and moisturising even helps your skin glow. For an added warmer glow, opt for a tinted or gradual tanning moisturiser.

6. Sun Safety’s 5 S’s
Whenever the UV index is 3 or higher roughly almost every day in summer and you’re going outside for longer than a few minutes, you should always:

1. Slip on sun-safe clothing
2. Slop on at least SPF30 broad-spectrum water-resistant sunscreen 15 minutes before going out in the sun, and reapply every two hours or after swimming or sweating heavily
3. Slap on a hat to shade your face, ears and neck
4. Slide on sunglasses to prevent eye damage.
5. Seek out shade

The Health Impact of Too Much UV
• Sunburn recovery can take days or even weeks. Treat mild sunburn at home, but see a doctor immediately for severe or blistering sunburn
• While sunburn fades with time, the damage can’t be reversed, adding to your lifetime accumulation of UV damage, which increases your risk of skin cancer.
• Eye damage: Primary cause of macular degeneration, photoconjunctivitis, cataracts and skin cancer of the skin surrounding your eyes
• Premature ageing: Around 80 per cent of our wrinkles and fine lines are due to UV damage. UV is also responsible for blotchiness, rough and sagging skin.
• Photosensitivity: Is where your skin or eyes becomes highly sensitive to UV and burns more readily.

Handy Tools
Have you used Carroten’s UV Index and Weather Forecast tool?! Simply type in your suburb and state to quickly and easily find out today’s temperature, live UV index, humidity and ozone concentration. This handy tool also provides a recommended SPF for each UV index rating.

You can also download the free SunSmart app to check your location’s sun protection times. The sun protection times app warns you when UV levels are forecast to be 3+. During peak sun protection time remember to protect your skin and eyes by applying a 30+ sunscreen, wearing a hat or shade covering up with UV safe clothing and slipping on a pair of polarized sunglasses. Don’t just wait until the weather is sunny and hot to cover up.

Be smart about UV radiation and remember to protect your skin with Carroten at all times. Carroten offers sunscreen options to suit every situation whether you’re at the beach, out and about or poolside.