When Should I Wear Sunscreen in New Zealand?
Avoid skin damage by wearing sunscreen in Autumn and Winter
The short answer is yes, you need to wear sunscreen year-round in Aotearoa New Zealand due to the high intensity of our UV rays. Even in Autumn and Winter.
On Thursday March 16th between 11:30-3:30 the UV index was between 6-8 which is categorised as High (Niwa, Today's UV Index). According to Dr Richard McKenzie, a NIWA scientist, "when the UV index is 3 that means, for a fair-skinned person, about an hour before you get skin damage. If the UV index is twice as big – 6, it's going to be half an hour, 12, [it's going to be] quarter of an hour" (RNZ 2018).
As a fair-skinned redhead, I know for a fact that I would be beetroot red after 30 mins to one hour outside on an Autumn day like today (March 16th 2023, UV index 6-8).
How Much Sunscreen Do You Need
Conventional sunscreens have a LOT of water in them so you need to apply at least 1 tsp per body part to get adequate coverage. Seasick Sunscreen contains no water so a little bit goes a long way. We recommend starting with a good pea-sized blog for your face and going from there.
How Often Should Your Reapply Sunscreen
This really depends on your own skin tone and what you are doing - for example are you swimming lots and then towel drying? If so then you should reapply more often. It is recommended to reapply all types of sunscreen every 2 hours however, this is unlikely to actually happen, especially in Autumn and Winter. If you are like me, I apply sunscreen first thing in the morning, sometimes under makeup and then go about my busy day....If I am lucky, I will reapply sunscreen to my face, neck and shoulders when sitting outside at lunch time or in the afternoon on a sunny day.
Niwa. Today's UV Index. https://niwa.co.nz/our-services/online-services/uv-and-ozone/todays-uv-index
Skin cancer science: Sunscreen in winter urged as study reveals flaws in UV advice. RNZ Nine to Noon. 18 September 2018. Available from https://www.rnz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018663002/skin-cancer-science-sunscreen-in-winter-urged-as-study-reveals-flaws-in-uv-advice