Why is the Australian sun harsher on our skin?

Why is the Australian sun harsher on our skin?

Why is the Australian sun harsher on our skin?

The Specialist Australia explains that ‘The ozone layer is a region in Earth’s stratosphere that absorbs most of the sun’s UV radiation. Since 1970’s, a gradual depletion in the ozone layer has been noticed by scientists. As the ozone layer depletes, the atmosphere loses its protective filter and more of the dangerous UV radiation reaches the surface of our planet’.

In 2017 The World Health Organisation estimated ‘that a 10 per cent decrease in ozone levels will result in an additional 300,000 non-melanoma and 4,500 melanoma skin cancer cases.’ However, whilst the global frequency of melanoma continues to grow, the key causes still appear to be linked with sun exposure associated with recreational behaviour. Therefore, it’s important we all take responsibility for our own skin and protect it by wearing sunscreen whenever we’re exposed to the sun. Factors such as your genetic makeup and lifestyle patterns can have a pivotal impact on an individual’s risk of developing skin cancer. Being fair-skinned and apart of a strong beach loving culture is a key danger for many Australians.

The WHO also reported that the occurrence of melanoma amongst white populations tended to ‘increase with decreasing latitude, with the highest recorded incidence occurring in Australia, where the annual rates are 10 and over 20 times the rates in Europe for women and men respectively’. Unfortunately, Australia is exposed to higher UV radiation levels compared to other continents like Europe due being located closer to the ozone hole.

Dr Ahmad Hasanien, a skin cancer expert explained that ‘During summer, the Earth’s orbit brings Australia closer to the sun, resulting in an additional 7% solar UV intensity. Coupled with our clearer atmospheric conditions, this means that Australians are exposed to up to 15% more UV than Europeans’.

It’s so important for those in Australia (especially in summer) to ensure they’re not exposed to the sun for extended periods of time without sunscreen. The best option is to apply sunscreen whenever you plan to go outside and be diligent with reapplying throughout the day, ensuring you also protect yourself by staying in the shade where possible and wearing protective clothing such as a hat and sunglasses.

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