Sunburn Risk Increases in 2023

Please be diligent about ensuring your children are applying sunscreen in the morning before school, and reapplying as needed during the day.

It’s a good idea to add sunscreen to their school bags for reapplication. Please also make sure your students have sun hats for outdoor use.

Experts are warning people to be extra cautious in the sun this summer, with UV radiation levels already averaging higher than last year. National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research (NIWA) data shows UV index levels between noon and 1pm in Auckland have been 5% higher on average, and up to 10% higher over the past month.

UV radiation is produced by the sun, and exposure can cause sunburn, premature ageing and increase the risk of skin cancer.

NIWA meteorologist Dr Richard Turner said the high UV levels in New Zealand were probably due to a slight depletion of the ozone layer over the past few months, possibly worsened by the Tongan volcanic eruption.

Cancer Society spokesperson Hazel Potterton is concerned, and says "New Zealand often ranks highest in the world for skin cancer rates. Even on cloudy days, you can burn within minutes, and people are often caught out at this time of year."

People should cover up and apply sunscreen of at least SPF 30 every two hours.

NIWA provides the Cancer Society of New Zealand with daily UV level forecasts, which can be accessed via the free UVNZ app.