How to be SunSmart in NZ

November 22nd, 2019

Early detection saves lives

The world’s most common cancer is a relentless disease that strikes one in five people by age 70.

The good news is that 99 percent of all cases are curable if they are diagnosed and treated early enough.

But in order to stop skin cancer, we have to spot it on time.

Light form the sun is emitted in three different rays; UVA, UVB and UVC. Both UVA and UVB rays make it through the earth’s atmosphere and down onto our skin. UVA rays are the most harmful as they have a longer wavelength and penetrate further into our skin. Both UVA and UVB rays can cause damage to your skin. Sunburn is a sign of short-term overexposure, while premature aging and skin cancer are side effects of prolonged UV exposure.

Many factors determine how much UV you are exposed to, including:

  • Geography
  • Altitude
  • Time of year
  • Time of day
  • Weather conditions
  • Reflection

How to stay sunsmart


Slip on a shirt with long sleeves. Fabrics with a tighter weave and darker colours will give you better protection from the sun.
Slip into the shade of an umbrella or a leafy tree. Plan your outdoor activities for early or later in the day when the sun’s UV levels are lower.


Slop on plenty of broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen of at least SPF 30. Apply 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours and especially after being in water or sweating.


Wear a hat with a wide brim or a cap with flaps. More people are sunburnt on the face and neck than any other part of the body.


Choose close fitting, wrap around style sunglasses. Not all sunglasses protect against UV radiation, so always check the label for the sun protection rating.
Be aware of your local UV index

What is the UV Index (UVI)?

The Ultraviolet Index (UVI) is a rating scale, with numbers from 1 to 11, which indicate the amount of skin-damaging UV rays reaching the Earth’s surface during the day. The daily UVI forecasts the amount of UV reaching your area at noon when the sun typically reaches its highest point in the sky. The higher the UVI number, the more intense the UV rays you will be exposed to.

You can check UV levels on the go with NIWA’s app uv2Day.

uv2Day app

You can check UV data for your location using the free uv2Day app. This app provides UVI forecasts for locations in New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. It uses NIWA data.

Visit NIWA’s website to download the app for both iPhone and Android phones

Silverstream Health Centre skin services

We have a highly qualified Skin Cancer Doctor who specialises in skin cancer detection and removal. If you are worried about your skin, come and see us today.