Here’s How To Apply Sunscreen To Your Back If You Find Yourself Alone On The Beach One Day

PEDESTRIAN.TV has partnered with Queensland Health to help folks reduce Australia's rates of skin cancer.

Picture this; it’s a warm, winter day. It just so happens to be your day off. Why? No one knows. But you have the whole beach to yourself, baby. 

As you strip your shirt and shorts off (already dreaming of the crystal clear water) you suddenly realise you forgot to sunscreen your back. 

Considering Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world (and it only takes 10 minutes of Queensland sun exposure to cause damage), it’s a pretty serious situation to be in. 

According to the Cancer Council website, sunscreen (with an SPF of 30+) must be applied 20 minutes before going outdoors, so for hypothetical-you, this was mistake number one.

We shouldn’t wait until we’re on the beach to apply, especially if it’s a warm, sunny day like the one in our aforementioned daydream. In saying this, you can also subject yourself to sun damage year-round. So stay vigilant. 

In order to protect your skin, you need to use a “generous amount” of sunscreen. 

A full body application should be at least 35ml. If you’re not bringing your measuring jug to the beach, that’s around seven teaspoons. You’re not silly. Apply your sunscreen until you feel that every area of uncovered skin is lathered.

So, back to our daydream. You’re on the beach, no partner around because you’re thriving in your single era, and all of your friends are at work. 

How do you apply sunscreen to the notoriously tough-to-reach area of your back?

Go Go Gadget

If you’re bringing a ludicrously capacious bag to the beach, why not go Mary Poppins and whip out a sunscreen applicator? There are gadgets designed exactly for this predicament but you can also make your own with things like a back scratcher, a long dish scourer and even cling wrap. 

You’d also be able to get other notorious sunscreen-dodging areas like the backs of your knees and arms. Done and done. While you may feel a tad silly at first, nothing is more important than sun safety. 

Get Flexible

Speaking of gymnasts, perhaps this sunscreen predicament will inspire you to take up more stretching. If you’re already a yoga regular (or just a flexible person), you can reach the middle of your shoulder blades by putting a teaspoon of sunscreen onto the back of your hand and positioning it so it sits flat on your back.

Kind of like the Cow Face yoga pose where you try to interlock your hands between your shoulder blades. Move a bit to the left and the right and you’ve covered the middle.

Let’s be real, your lower back and shoulders are far easier to reach, so, after covering the middle, slap some sunscreen there and you’re good to go. This one takes a lot of effort and stretching but hey, better to be covered than feel the wrath of the sun. 

Mix ‘N Match

So your flexibility is as poor as your grandad’s and you didn’t bring any type of gadget, spatula or paint roller to the beach with you?

As well as sunscreen, it’s important to cover up. Remember, we’ve got to slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses, all year ’round.

If you’re caught out on the beach with no one to lovingly protect your back then maybe a walk along the beach in a long t-shirt is better? Or invest in a rash shirt so you can swim with your back protected.

And no sunbathing! It’s 2023. Don’t let your guard down this winter. If you don’t have the ‘Tanning is skin cells in trauma’ advert burnt into your brain at this point, well I don’t know what to tell ya.

For more information on sun safety, head to Queensland Health