​Having fun in the sun is a great way to enjoy summer with family and friends, but experts are warning us to limit exposure during the peak time of the day when the sun is at its most fierce.

Clinical Associate Professor Saxon Smith, dermatologist at RNSH, said people should avoid heading out in the sun during the middle of the day between 11am and 3pm.

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​"There are a number of simple ways you can protect your skin," Dr Smith said.

"Everyone needs to remember that skin can burn in just a matter of minutes of exposure and that damage can happen even before the skin starts to show any signs of burning.

"If possible, your first option should be to avoid exposing your skin to sun from 11am to 3pm.

"Everyone needs some Vitamin D, which they can get by just going about their daily business and having short bursts outdoors.

"Fair skinned individuals only need around six to eight minutes of sun exposure just before or after the peak 11am to 3pm period," he said.

Dr Smith said young people, in particular, should follow these guidelines.

"Recent data shows young people are more likely to risk their health in the dangerous pursuit of having tanned skin.  In fact, research performed at RNSH has shown that nearly 30% of 18 to 30 year old Australians still actively sun tan despite knowing it increases their risk of skin cancer.

"In NSW melanoma is the number one cancer amongst women aged 15 to 29 and men aged 25 to 54.

"Latest figures also show that in 2008 more than 3,500 new cases of melanoma were diagnosed in NSW and 343 NSW residents lost their lives to melanoma," he said.

Dr Smith said people could help protect their skin from the sun by always following a few simple rules:

Shade
During daylight saving, the strength of UV radiation is highest from 11am to 3pm. The best thing you can do for your skin is to avoid the sun during this period and seek shade.

Protective clothing
Wear clothing that covers as much skin as possible, especially your shoulders, arms and legs. The best forms of protective clothing are loose fitting, closely woven fabrics.

Broad-brimmed hat
A hat with a brim of at least 7cm is a great way to protect not only the top of your head but also your neck, ears and face - parts of the body where skin cancer often occurs.

Sunglasses
The most effective way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses that meet the Australian Standard AS 1067 and wrap around the sides of the face.

Sunscreen
Generously apply SPF30+ broad spectrum sunscreen to your skin, 20 minutes before you head outdoors. Remember to re-apply every two hours. Make sure you check the expiry date before use and store your sunscreen according to the directions on the label.

As Dr Smith said "It may be holiday season for many of us.  But remember, UV Rays don't take holidays".