New Zealanders face 'extreme' sunburn risk

New Zealanders are being warned to stay safe in the sun as the sunburn risk rises to "extreme".

RadioLIVE weatherman Richard Green told the Summer Breakfast show New Zealanders need to be prepared - or face the consequences.

"Burn times - very, very high," he said on Monday.

"Even though the weather is looking a little changeable this week in places... we're still looking, at the lowest point, moderate at around eight in the morning, and then it rises to very high by about 11 o'clock over most of the country.

"And then we're around very high to extreme come lunchtime, early to mid-afternoon."

New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, killing more than 300 people each year.

A downloadable UV app called uv2Day is based on NIWA data and highlights the peak burn times people need to be aware of.

The app highlights the peak burn times.
The app highlights the peak burn times. Photo credit: Screenshot / uv2Day

Doctor Rajan Patel from the Skin Institute says people in the sun should stay safe and keep conscious of the risk in the sun.

"Sunburn is a dangerous thing when it occurs on people's skin cause that does really damage the skin - the repeated sunburn - so the advice is to wear a good sunscreen, SPF 30 or greater."

Mr Patel says long sunshine hours and weaker ozone layer doesn't make it easy on Kiwis, but sunscreen, longer clothing, sunglasses and a hat can make a big difference.

Mr Green is urging New Zealanders to take care even in cloudy weather.

"Just remember - it's so easy to forget," he says.

"That slip-slop-slap and wrap message just needs to get through."

SunSmart's advice to stay safe:

  • Slip on a shirt
  • Slip into the shade
  • Slop on sunscreen
  • Slap on a hat
  • Wrap on sunglasses