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Fewer Kiwis Seek A Tan, But Sunburn Still An Issue

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Fewer Kiwis Seek A Tan, But Sunburn Still An Issue

The latest research on New Zealanders' sun exposure habits shows that our attitudes to getting a tan are changing, with just under one in ten Kiwis saying they intend to go for that bronzed look this summer.

The Sun Exposure Survey is conducted every three years by the Health Sponsorship Council in conjunction with the Cancer Society of New Zealand.

SunSmart's Wayde Beckman says the survey showed that nearly half (46 percent) of the respondents recognised that not using sun protection is a 'risk factor' for skin cancer.

"While it is encouraging to see that nearly half the population understand the risks associated with not protecting themselves from the sun, we also know that people are still getting sunburnt.

"One in five people who had been outside during the very high-risk sunburn period, between 11am and 4pm, had been sunburnt the previous weekend, a figure that has not changed significantly since the previous survey.

"The parts of the body most likely to have been sunburnt were those less likely to have been covered by clothing - the face, neck, shoulders and lower arms, which is consistent with previous years."

He says sunburn is a big concern because it increases the risk of developing melanoma skin cancer. Around 300 New Zealanders die from melanoma each year, even though it's largely preventable by being SunSmart.

"Children and adolescents are especially vulnerable to sunburn. As they get a bit older - from about the age of eight - they begin taking more responsibility for themselves and forming their own opinions. We urge parents to remain actively involved in their children's sun protection and not to let them get sunburnt. We don't want the ghosts of Christmas past coming back to haunt our children in the future."

Wayde says by following the slip, slop, slap and wrap rules, it's easy to be safe while enjoying the warmer weather and longer days.

Slip on some sun-protective clothing, i.e. shirt with a collar and long sleeves, and trousers or long-legged shorts, and slip into some shade wherever possible

Slop on SPF30+ sunscreen 15 minutes before you go outdoors and every two hours afterwards. (Note: sunscreen should never be your only or main method of sun protection)

Slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears.

Wrap on some sunglasses. Choose sunglasses that cover the whole eye area.

For advice on choosing a sunscreen and sunglasses that will help to protect you from the sun, visit your local pharmacy.

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