3 skin cancer myths (and sun-smart advice from a dermatologist)


3 minutes

07 December 2022

father and son play in the water in rubber rings

We’re separating truth from tale and raising awareness about the power you hold to protect your skin this summer.

When UV levels are 3 or higher, most Australians get enough vitamin D with just a few minutes of sun exposure while doing everyday tasks.1 

This article was originally published by Solbari and has been expanded upon with additional advice from dermatologist, Dr. Jeriel Weitz. Solbari creates sun-smart clothing and swimwear, and HBF members get 15% off all Solbari UPF50+ sun protection clothing, hats & accessories*.

3 skin cancer myths

  1. Myth: Skin cancer only impacts people with fair skin 

While people with fair skin may be at higher risk of developing  skin cancer, there are many other relevant factors that put you and your skin at risk. The extent of sun exposure and your family history also play an important role.  

An important thing to acknowledge is that everyone is at risk of sunburn, skin damage and skin cancer so taking the same sun-smart steps is relevant irrespective of skin tone.

  1. Myth: Skin cancer is an older person’s issue

Yes, the effects of sun exposure are cumulative, so more older people tend to be impacted by skin cancer - a commonly quoted statistic is that 2 in 3 Australians will experience skin cancer by the age of 70.3 But what not many people know is that melanoma cancer was the most common type of cancer diagnoses amongst individuals aged between 15-24 in Australia.

The Australian Institute of Health & Welfare confirms that skin cancer is the most common cancer accounting for around 15% of all cancers diagnosed in the 15-24 cohort between 2010-2014.4

  1. Myth: Skin cancer is only relevant in sunny countries like Australia

The incidence of skin cancer in Australia is one of the highest in the world.2 But mitigating skin cancer risk  should be more about your sun-safe behaviour regardless of where you live. So even when you’re travelling somewhere where the sting of the sun doesn’t feel as severe as in Australia, the same sun-smart rules should apply.

Dermatologist advice

You may think you’ve heard it all before, but there’s always room for a reminder when it comes to enjoying the sun safely.

  • Apply SPF, and then reapply SPF. Make sure you’re using a broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF30 or higher every day and to make sure you’re reapplying every two to three hours.
  • Wear a wide brim hat. This ideally should be bigger than four inches around the whole circumference of your head, and you want to make sure that the material is something that’s tightly woven so that it won’t allow the sun to peak through any holes.
  • Invest in driving gloves. Keep a pair in the car and protect your hands while driving. Solbari have designed a pair that are UPF50+ in case you're looking.
  • Get your skin checked. It’s really important to make sure that you visit your GP or a dermatologist at least once a year to have a yearly skin cancer screening.

Remember, if you have any concerns about changes to your skin, or want to know more about your risk of skin cancer, talk to your GP.

Get to know your skin

The Cancer Council have created a skin guide that’s easy to follow and offers advice on skin changes and when to see a doctor. It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor about your level of risk and for advice on early detection.

Check your skin

HBF Members Save on Solbari Sun Safe Clothing

HBF members get 15% off all Solbari UPF50+ sun protection clothing, hats & accessories*. To redeem your discount, simply enter your unique promo code online.

Find out more


  1. 1The Cancer Council – Skin cancer
  2. 2Cancer.org –  Types of skin cancer 
  3. 3Sun Smart  – Skin cancer facts
  4. 4The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare – Cancer in adults
  5. * Terms and conditions apply. Excludes skin check app.


This article contains general information only and does not take into account the health, personal situation or needs of any person. In conjunction with your GP or treating health care professional, please consider whether the information is suitable for you and your personal circumstances.