What you can do

Do you want to reduce your risk of skin cancer? 

You can take steps to protect yourself, your whānau and community from harmful UV radiation by:

  • be SunSmart (Slip, Slip, Slop, Slap, and Wrap)
  • create sun protective environments in your community
  • campaigning with us


When to be SunSmart

  • be SunSmart between September and April, especially between the hours of 10am-4pm when UV radiation levels are very high.
  • use sun protection throughout the year when at high altitudes or near reflective surfaces, such as snow.  
  • Download the FREE UNVZ app on android or iPhone to find out what the UVI level is near you.
  • Download our free SunSmart resources here.

For more free resources on sun safety visit: www.sunsmart.org.nz

People with a history of skin cancer, sun damage, health condition, or taking medicines that make them sensitive to the sun should use sun protection all year round.


How to be SunSmart

Following our Slip, Slop, Slap and Wrap guidelines to reduce your exposure to UV radiation.   

Shade (Slip) / E noho ate wāhi marumaru

Slip into shade where possible. This is the best way to protect yourself. Shade can be provided by buildings, trees, or shade structures such as marquees. 

Clothing (Slip) / Kuhuna he ate

Slip on some sun protective clothing, such as. A shirt with a collar and long sleeves and trousers or long-legged shorts. A darker, close weave material offers the best protection. 

Some clothing will have an Ultraviolet Protective Factor (UPF) on the label. We recommend clothing that complies with the AS/NZS 4399:2017 standard.

Sunscreen (Slop) / Pania he kirīmi pare tīkākā I mua I te putanga ki waho I te whare.

Slop on broad-spectrum, water resistant sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30, and has the AS/NZ 2604 standard on the label. Try not to rely on sunscreen alone – make sure you Slip, Slap and Wrap too!

Sunscreen protection depends on correct application. Make sure you:

  • Apply 20 minutes before you go outdoors.
  • Reapply every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating it off.
  • The average sized adult should apply 1 teaspoon to each arm, and to the face (including the ears and neck); and at least a teaspoon to each leg, the front of body, and the back of body.

Other sunscreen tips:

  • Supervise children when they are applying sunscreen to make sure they are covered.
  • Check your sunscreen expiry date and store it in a cool, dry place (below 30C).

Learn more about sunscreen in our information below:

Common sunscreen questions 
SunSmart - use sunscreen

Hats (Slap) / Whakamauria he pōtae he whānui te peha

Slap on a hat that protects your face, head, neck and ears. Broad brimmed, bucket or legionnaire hats are best. The Cancer Society does not recommend caps. 

We recommend hats that comply with the AS/NZS 4399:2017 standard.

glasses (Wrap) / Kuhuna he mōwhiti rā

Wrap on some close-fitting sunglasses.

Make sure they meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 1067:2016). For more information on safe standards for sunglasses visit: https://www.standards.govt.nz/touchstone/consumer-safety/2016/oct/revised-standard-for-sunglasses/ 

Avoid sunbeds

Sunbeds (solaria) emit artificial UV radiation. Using sunbeds significantly increase your risk of melanoma (a lethal form of skin cancer). The Cancer Society advises people never to use sunbeds. It is illegal for people under the age of 18 to use commercial sunbeds.

For more information visit our information sheet on sunbeds.

Our products

You can fundraise for the Cancer Society when you buy our products at sunscreen.org.nz for Cancer Society sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses.



Create sun protective environments in your community

Can you champion change in your local community? Talk to your community group, marae, school, early childhood centre, church, or sports team about what sun protection practices they have in place.



A policy can help to ensure sun protection is prioritised in your organisation or community group. See our policy examples below, or contact your local centre for support.

Outdoor worker sample policy

View our outdoor worker sunsmart policy form here.

Early childhood SunSmart sample policy

View our ECE sunsmart policy form here.

Primary school sample policy

View a primary school sunsmart policy form here.

Secondary school sample policy

View a secondary school sunsmart policy form here.



Shade is one of the best and easiest ways to protect against UV radiation. When used in conjunction with other protective measures, such as sun-protective clothing, hats, sunglasses and sunscreen, shade is the best way to provide maximum protection against UV radiation.

Not all shade is effective at minimising UV radiation. Read our Undercover Guidelines to help your organisation or community group with shade planning and design or read our brief info sheet here.


Early childhood and schools

Schools and early learning centres have a duty of care to protect both their staff and children from UV radiation. For information on our SunSmart Schools Project and Early Childhood Teacher Professional development visit here.


Outdoor events and sports

Some Cancer Society centres provide support for local community events to protect their attendees from the sun. Contact your local centre for more information.

For tips on making your outdoor event sunsmart click here



Employers have a duty of care to protect their workers, particularly who work outdoors. UV radiation exposure is a workplace hazard and exposure over extended periods of time increases your risk of skin cancer.

Download our information for outdoor workers here

For information for employers on creating a sun protective workplaces visit WorkSafe


Campaign with us

Do you want to help us create a future with less skin cancer? The Cancer Society uses evidence-based approaches to advocate for the skin cancer reduction. See our campaigns here (link back to campaigns).

Contact us if you would like to get involved in any of our campaigns. OR start advocating about an area you feel passionate about right now:

  • Contact your local MP here:
  • Write to your local council, or school.
  • Share your views and promote campaigns on your social media.


Last Updated: 27 November, 2020