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Brits, you have no idea how to be sun safe. But as an Australian, I can tell you exactly what to do | Van Badham

Full-body swimsuits, ‘no hat, no play’ – avoiding the sun is a national pastime. At this point I’m more suncream than skin

Britain has been experiencing something of a heatwave this week, obliging me, as an Australian, to harangue its people on the subject of sun protection. I lived in the UK for 10 years, so I can broadly understand why Britons are hapless with their skincare. In Australia, the seasonal cues to cover up are well defined: in autumn, winter and spring you get sunburnt; in summer everything’s on fire and the coral dies. And you get sunburnt.

In Britain, I guess it’s difficult to muster a terror of the sun when its light is so rare that you’re trained from birth to run immediately for the nearest park, sit down and get drunk the moment a warm ray hits your face. The only thing that ever moved to Britain for the weather is mould.

Van Badham is a Guardian Australia columnist

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