Sun Protection

Skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in New Zealand. Melanoma is the most serious type, and our rates are amongst the highest in the world.

Skin cancer is largely preventable. Over 90% of all skin cancer cases are attributed to excess sun exposure. We encourage all New Zealanders to be SunSmart and to 'slip, slop, slap and wrap.'  

When to be SunSmart

It is important to be SunSmart in the months between September and April, especially between the hours of 10am-4pm when UV radiation levels are very high. 

Sun protection should also be used throughout the year when at high altitudes or near highly reflective surfaces, such as snow or water.  

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

How to be SunSmart

Shade (Slip)

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)

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

Sunscreen (Slop)

Slop on broad spectrum sunscreen that has an SPF of at least 30, 20 minutes before you go outdoors. Reapply every two hours or more often if you are swimming or sweating it off.

Read more information about sunscreen.

Hats (Slap)

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. 

Sunglasses (Wrap)

Wrap on some close fitting sunglasses. Make sure they meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 1067:2003). 


Sunbeds (solaria) emit artificial UV. Using sunbeds significantly increases your risk of melanoma. The Cancer Society advises people never to use sunbeds.


For further information:



Last Updated: Tuesday 2 June, 2020