Skin should be protected in five ways (Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek, Slide) when the UV radiation level is three and above.
UV radiation is the part of sunlight that causes sunburn and skin damage and leads to premature ageing and skin cancer.
UV radiation cannot be seen or felt. Maximum UV levels occur around midday when the sun is directly overhead. UV levels are not related to air temperature; high levels of UV radiation also occur on cool days.
UV radiation levels are dangerous for skin when they reach a UV Index level of three or above. UV radiation levels are strongest over the middle hours of the day, between 10 am and 3 pm but are also strong enough outside of these hours to cause skin damage.
UV radiation is strongest during the months that the sun is directly overhead. In South Australia, from August to May, UV levels across the day range from moderate to extreme every day and sun protection is required.
UV radiation levels are divided into low (one to two), moderate (three to five), high (six to seven), very high (eight to 10) and extreme (11 and above). Once UV reaches a moderate level it is strong enough to cause damage to the skin.
A UV Index level of three is high enough to cause skin damage, so it is important to protect your skin when the UV radiation level is three and above. The higher the UV radiation levels, the less time it takes for skin damage to occur.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicts UV levels with the weather forecast every day and provides us with local daily sun protection times, for example 9.30 am - 3.30 pm. The sun protection times tell us when UV is predicted to be 3 and above, which is when sun protection is required. It is a useful tool for anyone planning outdoor activities.
my UV campaign
South Australian research shows that temperature, cloud cover, shade and time of day are more likely to be used when deciding whether to protect the skin than UV levels, with less than 1 in 10 South Australians using UV levels to guide their sun protection behaviours. Even on a cool and cloudy day, UV levels in South Australia can be at skin damaging levels.
The my UV campaign is based around a 30 second commercial featuring a cartoon man walking outdoors with his dog. The commercial shows the man walking in boardshorts and as he continues walking a hat, shirt and long shorts appear on his body and he applies sunscreen when the UV index shows 3 or above. As the sun sets and the UV level drops he ends up back in his boardshorts. The commercial aims to raise awareness of protecting the skin when UV levels reach 3 and above.