AIHW Board AIHW senior staff Annual report Capability statement Collaboration Customer care charter FOI - freedom of information Indexed list of files Conferences & events Organisation chart Presentations Privacy of data Public consultation Strategic Directions 2011-2014 Tenders
By category Ageing, disability & carers Families & children Hospitals Housing & homelessness Indigenous Australians Population groups Risk factors, diseases & death Services, workforce & spending
By subjectAdoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases
Chronic kidney disease Chronic respiratory conditions Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition Health indicators Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Injury Life expectancy
Male health Mental health Mothers & babies National health priority areas Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Data Publications Contact AIHW
Publications CatalogueOrdering publicationsForthcoming publicationsRate our publication effectivenessSubscribe to release notices
By subject Adoptions Aged care Ageing Alcohol & other drugs Arthritis & musculoskeletal conditions Asthma Australia's health Australia's welfare Burden of disease Cancer Cardiovascular health Child health, development & wellbeing Child protection Children's services Chronic diseases Chronic kidney disease
Chronic respiratory conditions Corporate publications Data linkage Deaths Dental & oral health Diabetes Disability Expenditure Eye health Food & nutrition General practice Health indicators Health priority areas Homelessness Hospitals Housing assistance Indigenous Australians Indigenous housing
Juvenile justice Life expectancy Male health Mental health Mothers & babies Overweight & obesity Palliative care Population health Prisoner health Risk factors Rural health Safety & quality of health care Veterans' health Workforce Youth health & wellbeing Youth justice
In other sections Subjects Data Contact AIHW
About AIHW data METeOR - metadata online registry Data catalogue Catalogue of holdings of AIHW data Data integration Data standards Privacy of data
By subject Aged care Alcohol and other drugs Alcohol data sources Burden of disease Body weight data sources Cancer Children's headline indicators
Chronic disease indicators Deaths Disability eHealth Expenditure FHBH - Fixing houses for better health General practice (GP) data Hospitals
Height and weight data sources Indigenous Australians International collaboration Medical indemnity Mental health National indicator catalogue Risk factors statistics Tobacco data sources Workforce
In other sections Subjects Publications Contact AIHW
AACR ACFADD AHSAC AIHW Board AIHW Ethics Committee CKDMAC AODTS NMDS WG CMAG CSDWG CVDMAC HEAC HHIMG
JJ RIG MHISS MyHospitals NAGATSIHID NCIAG NCSIMG NDDWG NDIMG NHISSC NIAG NIRAPIMG
NMDD NMDS NPDDC NPHEP NPHIC PCDWG PDWG PHIDG PHIG REDWG Workforce committees YIAG
Education worksheets What's in the pipeline Subscribe to education notices Other educational links
Worksheets by subject All Latest Ageing Australia's health Australia's welfare Carers
Children & youth Disability Disease Drugs
Health Health prevention Indigenous Australians Injury
In other sections Subjects Data Publications Contact AIHW
Job vacancies How to apply for a position at the AIHW Conditions of employment Benefits of working for the AIHW Indigenous temporary employment register Temporary employment register Occupational Training Program Contact the People Unit Subscribe to employment notices Graduate Program
Conferences & events Media releases Subscribe to release notices Media FAQ Media contacts
You are here:
Some exposure to sunlight has health benefits, such as through stimulating the production of Vitamin D by the body (this aids the absorption of calcium and phosphorus, which are essential for healthy bones). Vitamin D is available through nutritional sources, but this does not always provide enough. There is also evidence that exposure to sunlight improves mental wellbeing and may be linked to a reduction in the risk of developing multiple sclerosis.
However the detrimental effects of excessive exposure to sunlight are serious. In the short-term, there is the risk of sunburn, which can be painful and if severe enough considered a first-degree burn. In the long term, there is an increased risk of developing skin cancer, which can be fatal.
There are a number of negative side effects that can result from spending to much time in the sun, or indeed in a solarium. These include:
People whose pattern of sun exposure has been intermittent are at an increased risk of developing melanoma* or basal cell carcinoma*. Those who have more continuous exposure (such as outdoor workers) are at an increased risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma*. Evidence also shows that overexposure to sunlight in childhood and adolescence is an important risk factor in developing skin cancer. (*Note: these are all forms of skin cancer.)
See Cancer for statistics on melanoma and other cancers.
Skin cancers are largely preventable through simple measures such as wearing protective clothing, applying sunscreens and avoiding the sun. More information on sun protection methods can be found at the website of The Cancer Council Australia.
Analysis of the 1995 National Health Survey found that:
For more information see Chapter 3 of Australia's Health 2010.