CBHS Corporate Health | Feb 28, 2019
After speaking with Doctor Daris Vilkins we were able to confirm the myths surrounding sun safety. We were astounded with some of the responses provided...
1. What’s one thing about skin and sun care that few people know?
You see a lot of advice about getting enough Vitamin D.
Basically, people are concerned that being in an office environment and away from the sun means they’re not getting enough.
It’s just not true.
If UV radiation levels are at three or above (in Australia, levels below three only happen in winter and only in a few select states), you only need a few minutes of sun exposure to get the Vitamin D you need.
2. How do I get enough Vitamin D without being sunburned?
The best answer I’ve seen for this comes from the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society and Osteoporosis Australia.
For moderately light-skinned people:
- In summer 6-7 minutes of sun exposure mid-morning or mid-afternoon with arms exposed.
- In winter 7-40 minutes at noon, with as much of the body as appropriate. For darker skinned people:
- In summer we recommend between three to six times longer, depending on tone. So 20 minutes of sun-exposure mid-morning or mid-afternoon with arms exposed.
- In winter, 30-60 minutes at noon, with as much of the body as appropriate.
3. What’s the biggest myth about skin and sun care?
It’s more a series of weird recommendations that have made their way into what I’d call myths, about the timing of application of sunscreen.
If I can, I’d like to set a flag in this issue – apply it every two hours.
Not once in the morning, or every four hours, or at a certain time.
If you’re going out into the sun, apply it every two hours, and immediately after a swim (sunscreen comes off in water).
4. Do you prefer sunscreen or sun spray?
I use – and you should use – sun lotion. The Cancer Council of Australia recommends sun lotion, not because there’s anything particularly wrong with spray, but the way people tend to apply it.
We have a tendency to under use sunscreen; we don’t achieve a thick enough layer of protection.
Bursts of sunspray don’t generally accumulate enough lotion to create this protection. Practitioners in New Zealand recommend 6 teaspoons, which, visually, is around a golf balls’ worth.
But this is Australia and we have to one up them, so we recommend 7 teaspoons, which is slightly bigger and better golf ball.
5. Can I get burnt during an eclipse?
Yes! Watching an eclipse counts as sun exposure.
I don’t want to have to say this but do not put sunscreen on your bare eyes. This has happened before.
It will hurt, cause damage, and will not protect them from the sun.
6. Does a tan protect me from UV radiation?
No, a tan does not protect you from UV radiation or skin cancer.
A tan is an indicator your skin has already been damaged by UV radiation, and something that I would like to add to my previous answer on myths – there is no such thing as a healthy tan.
Tans are just sun-damaged skin.
7. How would you describe the sun if it was a next-door neighbour?
The kind of person you will regret having anything more than small talk with.
Do what you need to in order to maintain a healthy neighbourly relationship but remember that everything past ‘it’s a nice day isn’t it’ is likely to be painful for you. Stay tuned for next week where we provide you with the chance to test your sun - spertise.