If you’re about to spend your first summer in New Zealand, then you’re in for a treat with beautiful hot weather, long summer nights and an abundance of beaches and treks to enjoy. It’s the season to be out in the sun, spending as much time as possible outdoors with friends, experiencing the best New Zealand has to offer. But there’s a few things you should know about New Zealand’s sun before leaving the house this summer.
New Zealand is situated below a very thin area of the Ozone layer, which means that ultraviolet (UV) radiation levels are much higher than other parts of the world, especially between September to April. Because of this, Kiwis have some of the highest rates of skin cancer, mainly seen in the older generation when the effects of the UV levels weren’t realised yet. It wasn’t until the past 10 years that there have been huge campaigns to switch away from the oil tanning products to SPF 30+ sunscreen and to cover up in the sun. You’ll find when living in New Zealand that a lot of things fade if in direct contact with the sun, like the colour of cars fade very quickly especially red cars and carpet along any full length windows will start to disappear because of the harsh sun. Many tourists and expats when first arriving in New Zealand don’t know the consequences of spending all day in the sun without protection and they suffer severe third degree burns or heat stroke. But saying that, with just a few things, you can be out all day enjoying the best of New Zealand’s sunny weather.
Slip, Slop, Slap
So to stop yourself from becoming lobster red or receiving severe burns make sure you follow this simple kiwi advice: Slip, Slop, Slap.
Slip on a shirt with long sleeves. Fabrics with a tighter weave and darker colours will give you better protection from the sun. Or 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 sunscreen that is broad-spectrum, water resistant of at least SPF 30. Apply 20 minutes before going outside and reapply every two hours and especially after being in water or sweating.
Slap on 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.
Stay sun safe this summer!