With skin cancer on the rise, it's important to be sun-safe and to be aware of the risks of too much sun exposure. If you're a little unsure about what UV rays are and when the best and worst times are to be out in the sun, read on to find out more.

What is UV?

Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a type of energy produced by the sun and some artificial sources. The sun’s UV is responsible for at least 95% of skin cancers in Australia; it can also cause sunburn, premature ageing and eye damage. UV radiation cannot be felt and isn't visible to the eye, so you won't notice any skin damage until it has already been done. Australia and New Zealand have some of the highest levels of UV in the world, due to the fact they are close to the equator and closer to the sun in summer than the northern hemisphere.

The UV Index and understanding it

According to SunSmart, The World Health Organization's Global Solar UV Index measures UV levels on a scale from 0 (Low) to 11+ (Extreme). Sun protection is recommended when UV levels are 3 (Moderate) or higher. The UV level is affected by a number of factors including the time of day, time of year, cloud cover, altitude, location, and surrounding surfaces. UV is typically the highest during the middle of the day between 10 am and 2 pm.

Make sure you're keeping yourself safe:

  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes and long-sleeved clothing to protect your skin

  • Wear sunscreen and don't forget to reapply every two hours

  • Try and find suitable shade to stay under if you're out in the sun or at the beach, whether that's under an umbrella, tree, or another form of shelter.

  • Avoid going out into the sun when the UV rays are the strongest, and if you have to go out make sure you have proper sun protection.

  • Regularly check your skin for any changes and don't wait to check with your doctor if you have any concerns.

You can find out the particular sun protection times in your area on the following sites:

If you have any questions or need extra support, we're here to help you anytime in any language. Simply start a chat with us via the home screen of the Sonder app.

Information sourced from: Cancer Council and SunSmart.

Image credit: Andrey Grinkevich on Unsplash

All content is created and published for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice. Always seek the guidance of a qualified health professional.

Did this answer your question?