Carnival Season: Keeping Your Skin Protected from The Sun

sunscreen, sunblock and sunburn at racing carnival sun block

Carnival Season means excess sun exposure and a high risk of a serious sun burn: hence you’ll need the best Sun Protection methods available.

Sun protection choices might not factor into your wardrobe selections for the Racing Carnival Season. But protecting your skin from damaging UV rays is even more important than what jockey you’re backing or what head wear you choose.

Keeping your skin protected from damaging sun exposure is important. It helps sustain an even skin tone and prevents premature ageing and sun damage. 

How can you keep your skin protected from the intense sun at the Aussie Races?

Racing carnival season and wedding season in Australia is fast approaching in October and November 2018.

Whether you are attending a wedding, attending the AAMI Victoria Derby Day or celebrating at the Emirates Melbourne Cup, you must protect your delicate skin from the harsh sun.

  • Racing and wedding days are long days of extensive sun exposure and you must take extra precautions to avoid  sun damage and sunburns
  • It can help to remember that the damaging UV rays of the sun are even present at dangerous levels on completely rainy days

Sun protection at the races. Is a hat enough?

top sunscreens and sun blocks for racing carnival season Melbourne cup


A hat alone is not sufficient (and sadly, currently not on trend, but that shouldn’t stop you from wearing one).

You should be also using sunblock while watching the races. You’ll also want to have a strategy to avoid direct and reflected sunlight as much as possible.

What are the Dangers of Unprotected Sun Exposure?

Australia has one of the highest skin cancer rates in the all of the world.   The removal of sun damaged skin or skin cancers can not only lead to disfigurement, especially if on the face or ears, but sunburns also put your entire well being at risk. Suffering even one very bad sunburn seriously increases your risks of melanoma development, with over 95% of skin cancers caused by sun exposure.

Even knowing the risks, anyone still not inclined to use sunblock to help protect their delicate skin, especially during the upcoming hotter months, is putting themselves at grave risk.

sun block at the melbourne cup

We will discuss why you should be using sunscreen at the Aussie races – and every day of the year – as well as what the best ingredients are in sun protection products so you know exactly what to look for.

We’ve all heard the term “UV radiation” and nearly all of us has had a sunburn at some point in our lives.  UV Radiation is definitely something that everyone all over the planet should be afraid of, and Australians in particular given the high rates of exposure and skin cancer risks.

Skin Cancer Causes: Sun Exposure & UV Rays

UV Radiation is known to be linked with the development of skin cancers.

This type of radiation comes from the sun’s rays and is so harmful to our heath that the EPA and the World Health Organization have declared it a skin carcinogen[1].

There are three different types of UV rays.

  • UVA (think “A” for “Ageing” of the skin)
  • UVB (think “B” for burning ability)
  • UVC radiation (likely to be highly ‘carcinogenic’ but blocked by the ozone layer)

So whilst you might THINK getting sun exposure makes your skin look good, it’s doing anything BUT that – especially when you work yourself into a sun burn on racing day.

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UVA radiation (the A of which stands for ageing is often how people are instructed to help remember it) – is the radiation type that is responsible for ageing, skin cancer, collagen damage and dreaded wrinkles.

  • Unlike UVC, the ozone layer barely absorbs the UVA form of radiation.
  • So UVA radiation makes up for 95% of the UV radiation that hits the Earth – and does the most harm to your skin – on a day at the races.

The more you sit out in the sun with unprotected skin, the more it will start to look dry and wrinkly, discolored or unevenly coloured (such as hyper-pigmentation or melasma), and even leathery.

UVB radiation (the B of which stands for burning) and makes up the remaining 5% of the UV radiation that hits the Earth’s surface.

  • UVB radiation is associated with the sun’s benefits and responsible for the production of vitamin D in our bodies.
  • Too much of a good thing can lead to damage to the top layer of your skin which can result in either skin cancers or sunburns or both (and the two are linked).
  • The ozone layer in Australia filters out UVB rays, but sadly, due to the well-known ozone layer depletion (called the “ozone hole”) over our country, more of these rays have been reaching the Earth, likely leading to the increasing risks for skin cancer in Australia and why we have the highest skin cancer occurrences (it’s also a behavioural issue because we go out in the sun too often, for too long, and without sun block or sunscreen protections).
  • And our love for the sun and our negligence of proper sun protection is often the reason so many of us get sunburned during the Racing Carnival Season.

Lastly, UVC radiation is the most harmful of the three radiation types. Luckily this radiation is currently mostly blocked by our ozone layer.

Sun damage and Sun Protection Products: How can I Best Protect Myself?

Staying out of the sun is the best way to avoid sun damage. But because most of us are outdoors regularly, including at weddings, carnivals and sporting events, there are simple but necessary steps that we can take to better protect ourselves from UV radiation and the harms it does.

These rules apply to everyone: men, women, children and the elderly. Babies as young as six months old should be wearing sunscreen or physical sun block – and should be covered up with UV protection rated clothing when they are younger.


what to wear at the melbourne cup; sun protection; sun block

  • Wear sunscreen – ALWAYS!
  • Avoid all sun exposure in the middle of the day because UV rays are strongest during this time.
  • Be cautious when you’re driving because you are actually getting far more sun exposure than you might realise,
  • Wear protective clothing. Try wearing long sleeves and pants and a wide-brimmed hat (perfect for the races).
  • Reapply your sunscreen regularly and consider the sun-block products that include ingredients that might better block the sun.

What Should I Look for in a Sunscreen? The data has changed and you’ll need to be more diligent than ever when choosing a great sun block, sun screen or UV radiation protection product.

SPF means sun protection factor. The SPF number of a product or brand rating tells you how well the product might protect you from UVB, the burning rays of the sun. Up until just a few years ago, all that mattered was choosing a sunblock with a high SPF which only protects from UVB rays or the rays that burn.

It is now shown, however, that UVA rays also increase your skin cancer risks. While UVA rays don’t cause sunburns they can be just as damaging to your underlying tissues or cellular processes – so its best to prevent these from reaching your skin as well.  And that  means slip, slop, slap but with more carefully selected sun screen products.



sun protection sun block

Try Broad-Spectrum Sunscreens

You’ll want a broad-spectrum sunscreen product that protects your skin from both UVB and UVA rays.

  • Look for ingredients with broad-spectrum protection that include titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, benzophenones (oxybenzone), cinnamates (octylmethyl cinnamate and cinoxate), sulisobenzone, salicylates, avobenzone (Parsol 1789) and ecamsule (Mexoryl SX).
  • You want an SPF of 15 or higher at a minimum.

To protect from UVA rays you really do need to pay attention to the ingredients.

Look for a sunscreen that contains at least one of these ingredients:

  • titanium dioxide
  • sulisobenzone
  • zinc oxide ecamsule
  • avobenzone
  • oxybenzone

Any of those should work well to protect from UVA Rays.

How Should I Apply Sunscreen or Sun Block

Always apply sunscreen at least 20 to 30 minutes BEFORE you go outdoors or swimming and whenever you will be exposed for 15 minutes or more (or even for a few minutes if you have just had a procedure done or have easily-burning skin).

You should also reapply sunscreen at least every two hours while you are outdoors – regardless of what the product says.

Reapply more often if you are swimming or perspiring heavily.

There really is no such thing as ‘all day protection’.  In fact, you’ll want to be very diligent about applying it often, and not just if you are swimming or sweating heavily – although if you are, you’ll want to reapply it even more frequently. But don’t count on sun block alone to protect you – remember the slogan and wear the right protective clothing, a wide-brimmed hat and sunnies, and try to get out of the direct sun (or even reflected sun light) as much as you possibly can.

Be sure to cover all exposed areas and do not forget your ears, lips, and back of your hands. If you have sensitive skin be sure to connect with your Dermal Clinician or Dermatologist about selecting a product that is right for you! Our Dermal Therapists can help so just phone us during clinic hours or send an enquiry form to learn what sun protection might be best for YOUR skin for the Racing Carnival Season and for Summer Weddings or a day at the beach.

Remember also, that some medications and health conditions make your skin extremely sensitive to burning; be sure to let your Dermal Clinician know what your sensitivities might be in terms of being sun-sensitive for whatever reason.

If you follow these steps, your skin will be much better protected while socializing at the races!

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