Sun safety myths and facts
Myth: Sunscreen provides enough sun protection.
Fact: Sunscreen doesn’t provide enough sun protection for your skin. It’s important because it filters ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and protects you from reflected UVR from shiny surfaces like water, sand and concrete. However, it’s best to also use shade, clothing, hats and sunglasses to reduce your exposure to the sun.
Myth: Skin cancer is a less serious form of cancer, because it can easily be cut out.
Fact: Wrong. Skin cancer is very serious and treatment isn’t always as easy as removing a mole. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer. It can travel to other parts of your body, making it difficult to treat.
Myth: Skin cancer only affects fair-skinned people.
Fact: Skin cancer affects all skin types. Did you know Bob Marley died from an untreated melanoma that spread to his brain? Skin cancer is less common in people with darker skin, but it's often found at more advanced stages.
Myth: Skin cancer only happens to older people.
Fact: Skin cancer happens to young people too. In 2007, 33% of Queenslanders aged 15–24 diagnosed with cancer had melanoma.
Myth: Skin cancer is caused by sunburn.
Fact: Not always. Skin cancer normally occurs when too much UVR exposure causes skin cell damage. We’re exposed to UVR every time we go outdoors, and even short bursts of sun exposure add up over time to damage skin. Sunburn increases your risk even more because the cell damage is more severe.
Myth: You only need sun protection on hot sunny days.
Fact: You need sun protection every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s sunny, cloudy, or even raining — UVR is always there during daylight hours.
Myth: You only need sun protection between 10 and 2.
Myth: Tanning lotions and sprays protect your skin from UVR.
Myth: Using a sunbed is safer than tanning in the sun.
Fact: A sunbed tan can be more dangerous than a sun tan. Sunbeds release UVR just like the sun. The levels of UVR from sunbeds can be up to three times stronger than the summer midday sun.
Myth: You need sun exposure for Vitamin D.
Fact: It’s not safe to seek extra sun to top up Vitamin D levels. Most people get enough vitamin D through their usual outdoor activities. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about your Vitamin D level.