The sneakiest serial killer of all is the sun’s UV rays.

In 2021 alone, 385 Queenslanders died from melanoma, caused mostly by UV radiation from the sun.

Queensland has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world.

UV rays damage unprotected skin long before you feel the burn, causing damage in as little as 10 minutes.

And that damage adds up over time, increasing your risk of skin cancer. Anyone can develop skin cancer, even if you don’t have fair skin or if you don’t normally get sunburnt. And for Queenslanders aged 20 to 39 years, melanoma is the most diagnosed cancer.

But there are ways to dodge this deadly killer.

Once the UV index reaches 3 or above, it’s time to protect yourself and be sun safe.

You do the 5. You survive.

  1. Slip on a shirt.
  2. Slop on sunscreen.
  3. Slap on a hat.
  4. Seek shade.
  5. Slide on sunglasses.

Thought you knew what you were up against?
Think again …

The sun's UV rays can cause:
  • sunburn
  • heatstroke
  • dehydration
  • premature ageing and wrinkles
  • sunspots
  • scarring from skin cancer removal
  • skin cancers, including melanoma, which can spread to other parts of the body.


Tips on how to stay sun safe

  • Avoid the killer tan

    Tanning is scary stuff. Skin tanned by the sun is damaged skin, which is at higher risk of premature ageing and developing skin cancer.

  • Plan to protect yourself

    Do outdoor activities early in the morning or later in the afternoon to avoid peak UV periods. Check the UV on the SunSmart app to help plan your day.

  • Know the UV

    In summer in Queensland, the UV hits 3 as early as 8am, and often stays that way until 5pm. Even in winter, the UV index climbs above 3 almost every day.

  • Don't be fooled

    It’s not about heat and sunlight, UV rays sneak through cloud cover and are around on cool days. Check the UV index regularly so you know when
to protect yourself.

Once the UV hits 3 take cover

Last updated: May 2024