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Sun Facts - Questions

Sun Facts - Questions


Sunshine is made up of many different types of rays. Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the part of sun light which causes sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer. These rays can be broken up into three types: UVA, UVB and UVC.

The amount of UV rays that reach the earth’s surface varies throughout the day. The most dangerous period of the day is between 10am and 2pm (11am and 3pm daylight savings). During these hours the suns UV rays are at their strongest and skin damage occurs fastest.

On a cloud free day we can feel the maximum amount of ultraviolet rays, however UV rays can still reach the earth’s surface when there is cloud cover. What’s more air temperature does not affect the strength of ultraviolet levels; you can still get just as sunburnt in winter as you can in summer!

The higher the UV radiation levels, the less time it takes for skin damage to occur. UV radiation levels are recorded using a UV index (UVI).

You can check out todays UV index here:

UV Rays Quick Facts

  • 60% of UV is received between 10am and 2pm (11am and 3pm daylight savings) daily.
  • There is more UV radiation in the north than the south of Australia.
  • More than 90% of UV rays can go through light cloud.
  • Clean snow reflects up to 80% of sunburning UV rays.
  • UV rays are stronger at high altitudes because the air is cleaner and thinner - for each 300m increase in altitude, UV rays increase by 4%.
  • Shade can reduce UV by 50% or more.
  • Sand reflects up to 25% of UV rays.
  • At half a meter under water, UV rays are still 40% as intense as on the surface of the water.
  • Indoor workers receive 10% to 20% of outdoor workers’ yearly UV exposure.

Source: Global Solar UV Index: A practical guide. World Health Organisation, Geneva 2002.



SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor and is a measure of UVB protection – or protection against burning.

SPF 50+ sunscreens are formulated to allow less damaging UV rays to reach your skin’s surface, than lower SPF sunscreens. For example, when applied correctly SPF 30+ allows 3.3% of UVB rays to reach your skin, while SPF 50+ only allows 2% to reach your skin.

Many Australians apply too little sunscreen resulting in achieving an SPF of between 50-80% less than that specified on the product. Factors such as how much sunscreen you apply, the weather and your skin type will affect your level of protection.

For the best protection Key Sun Zinke recommends you apply your sunscreen at least 20 minutes before sun exposure, and reapply at regular intervals throughout the day, especially after swimming, excessive perspiration and towel drying.



  • Apply sunscreen 15-20 minutes before you go out into the sun to ensure it absorbs properly.
  • For the best sun protection, reapply your sunscreen every 2 hours to ensure it stays on your skin, especially after swimming, exercise, excessive perspiration and towel drying.
  • Protect your skin with sun protective clothing, such as a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, a t-shirt or rash-vest and sunscreen. It is also important to stay in the shade between 10am and 3pm when the sun is at its strongest!
  • When applying sunscreen, you can never have too much! We recommend a dollop about the size of a 20c piece per limb.
  • Sunscreen should be worn every day since the Sun’s rays can harm you all year long.



Accidental sunburn can happen to even the most careful of Australians. Most have been sunburned at least once in their life, and many people get sunburned regularly every summer. Sunburn needs to be avoided at all costs, as it can significantly increase your risk of skin cancer.

Sunburn occurs after over-exposure to UV radiation. Without proper protection, UV radiation immediately starts to injure deep into the layers of your skin, damaging the skins cells. Sunburn can occur in less than 15 minutes. Skin turns red within hours of being burnt but sunburn will continue to develop for the next 1-3 days after exposure to UV radiation.

Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. Approximately two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer before the age of 70*. Too much unprotected sun exposure is the major cause of skin cancer.

For sunburns that can be treated at home, follow these steps to relieve discomfort:

  • Drink Fluids – Replenish your body fluids by drinking water, juice or sports drinks.
  • Cool your body down – Take a cool bath in tepid water to cool your skin down and relieve the pain.
  • Relieve the Burn– Apply a soothing product designed to alleviate the discomfort of Sunburn such as Key Sun Zinke After Sun with Aloe Vera or Cooling Mist with Aleo Vera to soothe the skin and minimise peeling.
  • Stay out of the Sun – Avoid being exposed to sun until the sunburn fades.