UV: Why all the fuss?
How come, when I was a kid in the 70’s ‘UV’ was a foreign word?
Well, for us Aussies UV and sun safety are a recurring theme, and not just in summer.
We're renowned for spending days at the beach, in the sea and playing on the sand.
And don’t we love this!
BUT WHAT IS UV AND WHY SHOULD WE CARE?
Whether it’s a hot sunny day or a clear winter’s day the sun continually emits Ultraviolet (UV) radiation. We can’t see or feel it unlike the light or heat produced by the sun. And that’s a problem.
UV radiation forms UVA and UVB. UVA rays can penetrate more deeply, causing sun damage in the form of wrinkles (uugghh!).
UVB rays however are responsible for causing sunburn and are a major cause of skin cancer.
As much as we love to be outdoors in the sunshine it can cause harm if we are not aware.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IF WE GET TOO MUCH SUN?
Well, if we’re exposed long enough without sufficient sun protection we will burn due to the radiation, and sunburn has been associated with melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.
In Australia almost 14% of adults, 24% of teenagers and 8% of children are sunburnt on summer weekends.
Last summer in Perth alone one hospital reported seeing more than one child per week admitted due to bad sunburn. Read about this disturbing trend.
We also get sunburnt on cooler or overcast days when many of us mistakenly believe UV radiation is not as strong. This is untrue – as mentioned above the sun’s heat has nothing to do with UV levels.
Did you know sun exposure that doesn't result in burning can still cause damage to skin cells thus increasing our risk of developing skin cancer?
Regular exposure to UV radiation year after year can also lead to skin cancer (which is why tanning beds are a big no-no).
HOW CAN YOU PREVENT UV DAMAGE?
The Cancer Council has a couple of great resources you may already have heard of on the best way to have an enjoyable and sunsafe day with your family:
The first is easy – just remember the 5 S’s:
- Slip on sun protective clothing. Something that covers your whole body is best. This includes swimwear and TicTasTogs has a great range of sunsafe kids swimwear starting at 6 months of age.
- Slop on some sunscreen. SPF 30+ or higher is best and check it’s broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen. Reapply every two hours when outdoors or more often if perspiring or swimming.
- Slap on a hat. Preferably a broad-brim hat that covers your face, neck and ears.
- Seek shade. Stay out of direct sunlight when resting; under a tree, umbrella or shelter.
- Slide on sunglasses. Protect your eyes when outside, even if it’s cloudy.
The second is this short fun video by Sid the Seagull which explains this advise simply.
WHAT ABOUT OUR KIDS?
Kids are naturally more susceptible to UV exposure: they tend to spend more time playing outside than us oldies, and are less able to understand the impacts of UV radiation.
Young children, especially those younger than 6 months, require additional sun safety support, as their skin and eyes are more susceptible to damage.
It’s not recommended to use sunscreen on babies under 6 months, so when at the beach or pool it’s even more important to keep their skin covered in UPF50+ rated swimwear styles designed just for them.
UPF50+ rated garments and accessories provide maximum sun protection as they block 98% of the UV rays.
You can protect your kids from UV rays TicTasTogs fun and fresh UPF50+ children’s swimwear.
View the full TicTasTogs range of kids swimwear and UV 400 sunglasses. All styles offer great body coverage and are made with our long lasting soft-on-the-skin fabric.
Receive 15% off your first order with code SUNNY.
If you’d like to know more about sun safety advice visit the Cancer Council.