Experts are keen to address Australia’s high melanoma rate. Picture: Tara Croser
Experts are keen to address Australia’s high melanoma rate. Picture: Tara Croser

Why you should have put sunscreen on this morning

PUT sunscreen on this morning?

Researchers say it should be an everyday part of your routine before leaving the house.

The re-evaluation of our sunscreen habits comes in the middle of a sweltering heatwave across Australia that has driven UV levels over the extreme rating every day.

Queensland's QIMR Berghofer medical research institute is leading the movement to get Aussies using sunscreen the same way they brush their teeth.

Professor David Whiteman and Associate Professor Rachel Neale wrote in an article, published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, that DNA damage from sun exposure accumulated with repeated small doses of sunlight.

In Australia, all it takes is hanging out the washing to get a small dose.

The researchers believe Aussies should be using sunscreen even in the middle of winter.

"At last year's Sunscreen Summit, we examined all of the evidence around sunscreen use and we have come to a consensus that Australians should apply sunscreen every day when the maximum UV level is forecast to be three or higher," Associate Professor Neale said in a statement.

Today's UV rating across much of Queensland and New South Wales is well above three.

In Central Queensland, it's tipped to reach a maximum of 15. The Bureau of Meteorology is recommending sun protection until at least 4.30pm.

Further south, on the Sunshine Coast, the UV rating is slightly lower at 14, but that is still considered extreme. BOM recommends sun protection for Sunny Coasters until 4.10pm.  Ipswich will also hit 14, as will Gympie, the Fraser Coast and Bundaberg. 

In far north Queensland, the UV rating is even higher, despite forecast rain. Cairns will today have to protect itself against a UV rating of 17.

Researchers hope daily sunscreen use would help reduce Australia's high skin cancer rate. Melanoma is the fourth-most common cancer in Australia.

According to Cancer Council, 1520 people across Australia died from melanoma in 2015.