What kind of sunscreen do you need for your skin type?


People beach different skin typesDo you know your own skin type? Do you know how high your risk of skin cancer is? Let us show you how to find out.

The best tool you can use is the Queensland Government “at risk skin type” tool which assesses your risk based on many more factors than just your skin type. These factors include everything from whether you grew up in Queensland or another sunny climate; whether there is any history of skin cancer in your family; whether you use self-tanning products; and how many moles or freckles you have.

As you go through the questionnaire, your answers produce handy hints. Did you know that even people with very dark skin should wear sunglasses and a hat, because even when their skin is safe, their eyes are still at risk of UVR-formed cancers? Did you know that the more moles and freckles someone has, the higher their risk of melanoma? You’ll have learned something new about sun protection before you even click the “What’s my risk?” button at the end.

Another useful tool is theDark Side of Tanning skin type tool which can help you work out what skin type you are. It’s an easy-to-read chart listing six simple skin types ranging from ‘always burns, extremely sun sensitive’ to ‘never burns, deeply pigmented, not sensitive’). The chart then explains what we need to know about protecting ourselves from skin cancer for each skin type. Take a look at the different skin types and see which one most closely matches the skin on your arms.

Your skin type is determined by how much melanin your skin produces. Melanin is what creates the natural colour of your skin when you are born, ranging from light to dark, with freckles or moles. This melanin ‘pigmentation’ affects how our skin responds to ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and how likely we are to develop skin cancers or a melanoma.

So what’s your skin type and risk level? If you don’t know how to best take care of your skin, take a look at our many other articles about sunscreen and skin care.

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