While lying on the beach in a bikini on a summer’s day can certainly result in sunburn, there are other, much less obvious environments that pose an even higher risk of skin damage and potentially melanoma.
According to new Cancer Council research, the beach and other water or poolside activities are responsible for just 29 per cent of all sunburns sustained by Australian adults, while 21 per cent happen during outdoor sport and other forms of recreation.
The biggest culprit, however, is far more “everyday”.
Half of all sunburns are acquired during everyday activities like household chores and “passive recreation”. These could include a half-hour spot of gardening, hanging out the laundry, mowing the lawn, a backyard BBQ, or a leisurely afternoon of reading and picnicking in your local park.
There's a good chance you ticked off at least one of these activities over the weekend. But here's a question: did it occur to you to put on sunscreen or a hat first?
In situations like these, we don't necessarily think to take the same sun safety precautions as we would for a day at the beach. 'It's only half an hour,' we tell ourselves. 'I'll just make sure I pick a shady spot in the park,' we reason.
However, you don't need to be outside for hours on end to experience ultraviolet exposure.
The Chair of Cancer Council Australia’s Public Health Committee, Craig Sinclair, told News Corp that residents of Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide can experience symptoms of sunburn after just 11 minutes in the midday summer sun. For Hobart locals, it takes 15 minutes, while the Brisbane sun needs just eight minutes to have an effect.
Weather myths can contribute to sun safety confusion - here, meteorologist Magdalena Rose dispels some of them. (Post continues after video.)