5 ways to protect your skin

Overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) light causes 95% of melanoma. The best way to prevent melanoma is to protect your skin from the sun by following the five sun safe rules:


Seek shade, especially in the hottest part of the day.

Protective clothing

Wear sun-protective clothing that covers your back, shoulders, arms and legs.


Wear a broad-brimmed hat.


Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50+ every 2 hours and after swimming or exercise.


Wear wrap-around sunglasses.


What is the best type of sunscreen?

In Australia, we have very strict guidelines for sunscreen. Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of at least 50+ every two hours and after swimming or exercise. The following points will help you ensure that you get the best possible protection:

  • Use the sunscreen with the highest possible SPF. This is currently SPF50+ in Australia.
  • Ensure your sunscreen is broad-spectrum. This means it protects you against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Typically, we only use 25-50% of the amount of sunscreen we need to be protected, often missing entire areas of our bodies. When too little sunscreen is applied, it reduces the sun protection factor significantly, e.g. SPF30+ may only work as SPF10.
  • Ensure that all exposed skin is thoroughly covered with sunscreen.
  • If you are in the water, ensure you use a water-resistant variety of sunscreen and re-apply regularly, at least every two-hours.

All sunscreens on the Australian market are highly regulated, and there is indisputable scientific evidence that sunscreen helps protect against UV damage, the greatest risk factor for developing melanoma which kills one Australian every five hours.

How do I know when to reapply my sunscreen?

You can purchase sunscreen reminder stickers called sundicators. These are stickers that will change colour to remind you when you need to re-apply sunscreen.

How to use sundicators:

  1. Adhere sticker firmly to clothing, hat or back of hand. Sticker does not need to be in contact with skin. If applying to skin ensure skin is dry, clean and free of sunscreen.
  2. Apply sunscreen liberally and evenly to sticker and all exposed skin 15 – 20 minutes before sun exposure or getting wet.
  3. When the sticker begins to turn blue, this is your reminder to reapply sunscreen to your skin and the sticker at the same time. When sufficient sunscreen is reapplied to the sticker, it will change back to the starting colour.
  4. Reapply sunscreen as needed following step 3.
  5. After one day’s use, gently remove sticker and dispose in a recycling bin.

For more information about sundicators, please visit http://sundicators.com.au/ 

Sunscreen myths and controversies

MIA Dermatologist Professor Pascale Guitera shares her knowledge on debunking myths and controversies on sunscreen. In this video, she answers questions that GPs are often asked in their clinic, including:

  • What is the best sunscreen? Is there a difference between expensive and cheap sunscreens?
  • What is SPF?
  • Why do I need to reapply?
  • What if I’m allergic to sunscreens?
  • Can babies wear sunscreen?
  • Are nanoparticles dangerous?
  • Sunscreen gives me acne. What can I do?
  • Does sunscreen decrease my vitamin D levels?