We all know it’s crucial to be sun smart at this time of year in Australia.
However, melanoma skin cancer was the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in Australia in 2015 and it’s estimated that it will remain the fourth most commonly diagnosed cancer in 2019.
It’s also estimated that 1725 people died as a result of melanoma cancer in 2019 in Australia and over 15,000 new cases were diagnosed. These are staggering statistics; especially given the amount of education we now have about this devastating disease.
So, what can we do to prevent it? Glad you asked!
Well, the SunSmart website has some great tips; https://www.sunsmart.com.au/
But here are a few tips on how to choose the best and most appropriate clothing:
Not all clothing fabric is equal. Consider:
- Fabric structure: If you can easily see through the fabric, chances are UV can easily pass through it. The tighter the fabric structure, the better the sun protection. Tightly woven, lightweight natural fabrics such as linen, cotton or hemp will also help keep you cooler than synthetic fibre equivalents.
- Tension: If a fabric is stretched, it will be less protective. This is common in knitted or elasticised fabrics.
- Layering: Layering of fabrics and garments is an effective way of increasing protection from UV.
- Colour: Darker colours absorb UV rays better than white or pastel colours of the same fabric.
- Moisture content: Fabrics offer less protection from UV radiation when wet. How much less protection will depend on the type of fabric and the amount of moisture it absorbs. To reduce the effect of the moisture, take dry clothes to change into or if dipping in and out of the water, choose a fabric that provides effective protection from UV and that will dry quickly.
- Caring for your clothes: Washing new clothes can improve their sun protectiveness by shrinking gaps in the structure. However, old, threadbare or faded clothes may offer decreased protection over time.
- UV absorbers: Some clothing is treated so it can absorb more UV radiation. Check the clothing label to see if your clothes have been treated and follow the care instructions.
So, whilst you are loving life and having fun this summer, kicking around on the beach in your ultra-comfy Slappa’s Thongs, just remember to slip, slop, Slappa’s!
Slip on a shirt, slop on plenty of sunscreen (and don’t forget to do your feet and particularly in between those toes!), slap on your hat and Slappa’s.
Your body, skin and feet will love you for it!