Back home, there seems to be two extremes of people: those who buy vats of factor 50 sunscreen and bathe in the stuff, and those who think, “I’m an Aussie, it’s in my genes not to burn”.

Whichever category you’re in, it’s likely when you moved to this cloudy part of the world, you definitely didn’t bother. But you should. The sun does shine here after all – occasionally – plus it really doesn’t take a lot to get those nasty cancer cells going.

With that in mind, Paul Banwell (, skin cancer expert and head of the melanoma and skin cancer unit at Queen Victoria Hospital, gives his top tips on how to enjoy the sun safely this summer:

1 Slap on sunscreen before you put on your clothes 

Putting on SPF around your clothes will make you more likely to miss a spot. For your body, apply at least a shot glass-worth of broad-spectrum sunscreen with a minimum SPF of 30. For your face, you’ll need a teaspoon worth. Another good reason to apply sunscreen before you get dressed is that SPF needs about 20 minutes to sink in properly and completely protect skin from UV rays. By waiting until you are outside in the sun, it’s like not wearing sun protection for that first half-hour you’re outdoors. 

2 Think a-head 

People often forget to protect their scalp and can end up with sunburn on their hair parting (or bald spot). Mist your scalp and hairline with a spray sunscreen all around the head to be sure it’s covered. It’s always the best idea to wear a hat.

3 Protect your skin from inside out   

Rather than soaking up the sun, taking a vitamin D supplement like Heliocare Ultra D Oral Capsules is a great way to ensure vitamin D levels are nicely topped up. Also, it is thought that oral vitamin D might be beneficial to guard skin against melanoma, a potentially lethal form of skin cancer. 

4 Double up

Layer your skin protection. For the face, always wear an antioxidant serum to help counteract the free radicals from the sun. Strengthen your skin’s protection barrier with a serum containing niacinamide. Then apply your SPF of at least 30. Even on a cloudy day! You will thank us for this advice in years to come.  

5 Keep it fresh 

We all have that leftover bottle of sunscreen lurking in the bathroom cabinet, but it’s critical to start fresh each summer. Heat and bacteria damage sunscreens, meaning that the active ingredients can lose their potency. To help preserve your sunscreen during the summer, it’s a good idea to store it in the fridge. Plus it makes it lovely and cooling.

6 Don’t rely on make-up 

With ‘SPF’ written on many make-up products, it can be tempting to skip applying sun protection altogether, but this can leave your skin dangerously exposed. Daily cosmetics simply don’t offer the protection our skin needs. The way you would apply foundation is unlikely to reach the SPF on the label – to do so you would need to apply as much as seven times more than you would actually need to even out your skin tone. You’re far better off getting into the habit of using a high-factor SPF every day and then applying SPF-free make-up on top. Or choose a high-SPF tinted moisturiser. 

7 Never run out 

Make sure you have plenty of sunscreen on hand. Get mini sizes or samples of sunscreens if possible and keep them in your handbag, car, or make-up bag for regular application. They are also handy for carry-on luggage when travelling.

8 Reapply regularly 

It’s a common mistake not to use enough sunscreen. Apply liberally and evenly every four hours and each time you get out of the water to ensure optimal protection. If you are keen on watersports it’s especially vital to apply even more regularly. Apply at least two tablespoons of sunscreen to each body part (leg, arm etc), plus a little bit more for luck! Don’t forget the ‘forgotten’ areas such as ears and under the chin – or the soles of the feet if you are going to be lying down with them exposed to the sun. 

9 Get matey with your moles

Look out for new or existing moles that are darkly pigmented, change in colour and/or size, have an irregular outline and itch, bleed or crust. If you are unsure or concerned that you may have one or more of these symptoms, visit your GP. They will examine your skin and refer you to a specialist if needed. If in doubt, get them checked!

10 Don’t push your luck in the sun

It is possible that the increased use of sun creams may give people a false sense of security, which may encourage them to go into the sun more and, as a result, increase in the risk of developing skin cancers. Sunscreens only partially protect your skin; therefore using sun cream does not mean that you can sunbathe for long periods without harm.