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Looking after yourself in the sun

New Zealand has some of the harshest and most damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays of anywhere in the world, and it’s time once again to make sure that you are protected while outdoors.

When looking at which sunscreen to use, there are a few key things to keep in mind:


  • Pick one that is broad spectrum. This means it will cover your skin from harmful UVA and UVB rays. UVB are the stronger of the two and can cause sunburn and most skin cancers

  • Choose a water-resistant option. With beaches, pools and rivers all popular destinations across Aotearoa over the summer months, a sunscreen that won’t wash off in the water is the ideal choice

  • Go for a minimum of SPF 30. This will ensure that your sunscreen is blocking out enough of the harmful UV rays to keep you protected while outdoors.

It’s a good idea to apply your sunscreen thoroughly, and you can use the ‘2-coat approach’ for this. Applying sunscreen before heading outdoors and again shortly after will give you a couple of key benefits:

  • It helps you to cover up areas you may have missed on your first application

  • You end up with an overall thicker layer, which will be more protective. It’s far better to use too much than not enough!

Remember that just doing this once won’t be enough. Sunscreen gradually wears off, so it’s essential that you remember to re-apply every two hours. With our tamariki typically active in the outdoors, it’s especially important for them to re-apply so that they stay protected.

If you can, try to avoid the sun at the most intense time of the day, which is typically between 10am-4pm. Find a tree to sit under, take a sun umbrella with you to the beach and wear a hat and sunglasses when you head out. These are all great ways to reduce our exposure to the harmful UV rays and stay safe in the sun this raumati (summer).

OneCare Health, caring for your family's health

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