Staying sun safe 

Two people holding a surfboard at the beach

As someone who grew up in the tropics and had a love-hate relationship with the sun, I must say, I was not prepared for the Australian summer and the heat that comes with it.

Back home, it’s hot and sunny pretty much all year round – save for the monsoon seasons – but it was also humid. When I spent a summer in Perth for my first year at uni, the heat took my breath away. As a matter of fact, I think it took some layers off my skin too.

Despite being under the same sun, the humidity and the often-cloudy skies in Malaysia makes the heat a lot more bearable than that in Australia. It’s nice that I don’t sweat as easily in Adelaide as I would in Kuala Lumpur, but the cloudless skies make it feel like the sunlight is piercing a hole through my skin.

Which is why it’s important to stay sun safe this summer. You don’t have to do much, most of the things you should be doing could easily be incorporated into your daily routine. 

The Cancer Council’s mnemonic is my favourite way to remember what to do – slip, slap, slop. It’s also just really fun to say. Slip, slap, slop!

Slip on a shirt 
Preferably one that would cover most of your skin, but I understand the heat can make that feel a bit uncomfy. Still, maybe it’s not a good idea to walk around shirtless unless your goal this summer is to rock a mean sunburn ala Larry the Lobster. 

A shirt would do and if you’re going to the beach, put on a long-sleeve rash guard or if you’re going hiking/bushwalking, a thin long-sleeve shirt should keep you covered.

Trust me, I’ve gone hiking in the summer with a t-shirt on and came home with my arms looking like a traffic cone. 

Slap on a sun hat 
I never thought to pay attention to my scalp when it came to sun care because I thought, well, my hair would be enough to protect it but boy, was I wrong! 

After coming home with a sunburnt scalp to the point where it hurt for me to wash my hair, I understood then why my cousins would always have a bucket hat with them. I carry my own now too.

But really, any form of head covering should do the trick. 

Slop on sunscreen 
Like a lot, a lot, a lot, of sunscreen. Not only is it good practice to wear it every day no matter the season, but it’s especially important to do so in the summer. 

I know we all hate that sticky feeling it leaves but sunscreens have come a long way since primary school. From cute packaging to natural ingredients to ones that don’t leave a white cast, there’s a sunscreen for everyone out there. 

My personal favourite is the one from La Roche Posay or 3W Clinic. 

Honourable mentions
Check the daily UV index. If it’s high, then it’s advised for you to avoid going outside due to potential sun damage. I think it’s a great way to know how much slip, slap, slopping you should do too.

Also bring a beach umbrella or tent for some shade if you’re planning to catch some waves. 

Paying attention to your skin this summer is just as important as having fun. So take some time to follow through those reminders above to ensure a safe and enjoyable summer!

Check out the Cancer Council for more tips on how to be SunSmart. Check your skin regularly for any new spots or changes in shape, colour or size of existing spots. If you notice anything unusual, see your doctor.

Tagged in What messes with your head, summer, skincare, sun care