What is UV Radiation

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation is the best natural source of vitamin D. However, too much UV exposure from the sun and other sources, such as solariums, is a major cause of sunburn, premature ageing, eye damage and skin damage leading to skin cancer including melanoma.

UV cannot be seen or felt.

It is not like the sun’s light which we see, or the sun’s warmth (infrared radiation) which we feel.

Our senses cannot detect UV so it can be damaging without us knowing.

There is a huge variation in UV levels across Australia. The UV level is affected by a number of factors including the time of day, time of year, cloud cover, altitude, proximity to the equator, scattering and reflection.

Some people are fooled into believing that UV levels in Tasmania are low because of our comparatively cool climate.  This is not true. UV levels in Tasmania at certain times of the year are extremely high.

If you would like to see what the actual UV level is in Tasmania right now, click here:

If you would like to see what the predicted UV level is in Tasmania for today, see the UV widget at the bottom of the page.

Vitamin D

If like us, you live in Tasmania and you would like to learn more about Vitamin D intake as it applies specifically to our island, click here:


It is important to take steps to prevent yourself being exposed to UV radiation.

Prevention includes:

  • Use a combination of measures to protect your skin from the sun.
  • Wear clothing that covers your shoulders, neck, arms, legs and body. The best protection comes from closely woven fabric.
  • Check the UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) rating on clothes designed for sun protection. The higher the UPF number, the greater the protection. UPF 50+ gives the best protection.
  • Use a sunscreen with a SPF 30 or above and apply at least 20 minutes before going out, as it takes this long to sink into the skin. Reapply every two hours, after swimming or after any other activity that causes you to sweat or rub it off.
  • Wear a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, neck and ears. Adult hats should have at least a 7.5 cm brim.
  • Use shade from trees, umbrellas, buildings or any type of canopy. UV radiation is reflective and bounces off surfaces such as concrete, snow, water and sand, causing sun damage even when you think you’re shaded.
  • Protect your eyes with sunglasses that meet the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1067:2003 and an Eye Protection Factor (EPF) of 10. Wrap-around styles are best.
  • Always protect your skin during the sun protection times indicated by the daily SunSmart UV Alert.
  • Do not use solariums, tanning beds or sun lamps, which give off UV radiation.
  • Protect babies and children from direct exposure to sunlight. Use sun protection measures when the UV rating is 3 or above

For further information see this “Sunsmart” link:

Also familiarise yourself with the melanoma waring signs fact sheet below.

Early Detection

The best way to quickly detect if you have skin that needs attention is to get your skin checked out by a doctor who specialises in skin cancer!

You can also help detect early warning signs by performing a regular self examination described in the video here.

A list of these doctors in Tasmania can be found here:

For further information about early detection of skin cancer, see this “Sunsmart” link: