How to stay SunSafe this Winter
Excuse me? SunSmart and Sun Safe in the winter? Yes it’s not a typo.
In some parts of Australia the UV doesn’t drop below the safe level of 3 at all during winter. And in both autumn and spring the UV levels can reach up to 8 in some areas, even though the actual temperature feels cool. We all naturally think of sunburn only in hot weather, and sometimes forget (or don’t realise) that we can still get burnt when it is cool, or even quite cold. This means we need to be extra careful and follow the Cancer Council advice to wear sunscreen whenever UV levels are 3 or above.
So what’s UV again?
Two types of UV light that are proven to contribute to the risk of skin cancer are UVA and UVB rays. Both cause damage to the skin but harm us in slightly different ways.
- Ultraviolet A (UVA) has a longer wavelength, and contributes to skin aging.
- Ultraviolet B (UVB) has a shorter wavelength, damaging the outer layers of your skin and causes skin to burn.
And it’s not just the risk of cancer that we’re talking about – but also the skin damage that exposure to the sun causes over time. You might think that the occasional bit of sunburn won’t hurt. But it causes long term damage to skin cells which stays even after the sunburn has faded away.
Here are some of the places where you might be at more risk of sun exposure and some ways to look after yourself and your family’s skin.
When you’re at the beach
Sunscreen. Sunscreen. Sunscreen!! It helps protect the skin from damage that is caused by exposure to UV by filtering UV radiation. The higher the SPF (sun protection factor) the higher percentage of rays that are filtered.
So pack up your SPF 50. Pop it on 20 minutes before arriving at the beach and every two hours after that (or more if you go swimming).
When you’re having a picnic
Roll out your favourite Hammamas towels and blankets and enjoy the great weather we have here in Australia. Pack clothing, hats and sunshades as they also help protect you and your family from those rays!
When you’re doing sports
Any outdoor sports on sunny days mean you should be thinking about your SunSmart routine. You might not have considered it but if you ski you are at even more risk – UV levels are higher in alpine regions than at sea level; plus the snow is highly reflective which can cause your skin to burn. Reapply sunscreen every two hours or more often if you’re sweating a lot.
When you’re just out and about
If you’ve been given any general health tips too they might include ‘getting plenty of Vitamin D during the winter’. We all want that lovely feeling of Vitamin D soaking into our skin, warming us up and making us feel happy. But it’s important not to be out in the sun (and therefore damaging UVA and UVB rays) for longer just to achieve that. Experts say that when UV levels are 3 or above, you’ll get enough vitamin D with just a few minutes of sun exposure while completing everyday tasks – like walking to the car or shops, walking the dog, gardening, working outside or eating lunch in the garden or deck. Research by the Cancer Council also suggests that prolonged sun exposure does not cause vitamin D levels to continue to increase further but does increase the risk of skin cancer. So there’s no need to be in the sun for longer to try and ‘get more Vitamin D’.
Some of our team here at Hammamas like using the UV app to check the conditions daily and know what sun protection they need to apply. You can also download the SunSmart app here.
The Cancer Council tells us that even mild sunburn can increase your risk of developing melanoma and the more often you are burnt and the more severe the sunburn is, the higher your risk will be. So wherever you are heading in the next few weeks and months, make sure your sunscreen and Hammamas are on the packing list for your adventures!
With love and sun protection vibes from the Hammamas team x
Notes: No part of this content is a recommendation and you should seek expert advice from your GP or other medical professional if you have questions and wish to take action regarding your skin care in the sunshine.
Australia – a continent covering a massive 7.6 million square kilometers of beautiful and diverse country. An estimated 3% of it has been impacted by the bushfires; that’s about 10 million hectares – almost the size of the UK.
As a result, companies, celebrities and communities have come together to help restore and revive the areas impacted.
One of the initiatives is Sally Aksenov’s ‘Stay With Them (@staywiththemau). It’s purpose is to inspire travel and tourism to the fire affected regions around Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia. The hope is that this will contribute to reinvigorating bushfire affected regions and has almost 10,000 followers already!
Sally posted on Instagram: “My dream for this page is to promote the accommodation, tourism and attraction operators within these regions and raise their profiles to ensure they are not forgotten & to encourage you all to think of these townships when planning your next holiday“. Go Sally! That’s what we say.
In support of this, we’re encouraging the people we know to roadtrip around for their next staycation. From glamping to beach houses, lodges to hotels, there are plenty of gorgeous places to be a tourist here. You can recognise accommodation providers who are featured on the Stay With Them instagram profile by the hashtag #staywiththem
And whilst you’re visiting these regions you can also #spendwiththem by taking an #emptyesky and buying your groceries locally to help small, local businesses stay just that way – in business. Cafes, stores, restaurants, tourist attractions, wineries…the list goes on.
To support one of the local communities, some of our Tribe are off to Hotham this weekend. We’re buying ice cream from the local dairy, food from the local store and eating at the local restaurant. And yes, our Hammamas beach towel is already packed for whatever adventures await us there.
Here are a few more suggestions for just a handful of the unique Australian towns you can visit, along with some tunes for the road. Bon voyage!
Feature image: Bawley Point shot by Josh Burkinshaw
“Hit the Road Jack” by Ray Charles
We’re starting out where we’re going this weekend – hitting the road and heading to the Victorian Alpine region.
Bright in Victoria can still boast it’s jaw-dropping scenery. Families who love being outdoors can reconnect with nature and unwind. Or try heading for a weekend away in towns like Tallangatta and Bairnsdale which are renowned for incredible wine and fresh produce.
“Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
A day trip from Sydney, the upper mountains towns Katoomba and Leura in the Blue Mountains National Park are currently reported as not only being safe to go to, but tourists are being encouraged back to help support the bushfire-affected region.
“Everyday Is a Winding Road” by Sheryl Crow
Some fires in November last year affected the Barossa Valley in South Australia but luckily none have occured this year. It’s open for business and by that we mean wine tasting, biking and relaxing whilst stopping in at the many towns dotted throughout the valley,.
“Going Up the Country” by Canned Heat
Shoalhaven’s major tourist towns of Berry, Jervis Bay, Mollymook and Ulladulla are all welcoming visitors from far and wide and remain eerily quiet. The area is set up perfectly for a road trip. It covers a massive 170km of coastline from Kangaroo Valley in the north to Pebbly Beach in the south with 49 towns and 100 beaches along the way!
“Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey
Yes! We’re happy to say we’re heard that you can travel to Kangaroo Island. The East end from Cygnet River to Penneshaw is where you’ll find wildlife, food and wine, beaches, tours and ocean safaris. While you’re there, be sure to treat yourself to something from one of the wineries and local produce stores.
“Where the Streets Have No Name” by U2
The place you go to ‘get away from it all’???…yup: Kiah in NSW. Enjoy going totally off grid here. Explore at the National Parks and Twofold Bay during the day, and play games with your loved ones back at your accommodation before bed.
“I’ve Been Everywhere” by Johnny Cash
No you haven’t! Head up to the Southern NSW Coast and Northern Victorian Coast for a visit to Croajingolong National Park or Ben Boyd National Park. Both areas are ideal for a remote getaway in wild landscapes and superb coastline.
Taking a road trip in Australia this year will mean you are one of the many important and welcome parts of the recovery effort, to help rebuild from the devastating fires. Do always check before travelling; and when you do set off, here are 100 Classic Road Trip songs to keep the vibe going for those hours on the road.
Share your road trips with us on Instagram – we would love to see where your adventures take you.
With love from the Hammamas Tribe x