Victorians are dropping the ball on skin protection from harmful UV rays, a study reveals.
Five per cent of people observed over six weekends in January and February covered their arms at pools or beaches, The Cancer Council Victoria study released on Monday reveals.
Yet 15 per cent of people covered their arms in parks and gardens while 39 per cent had clothing protection on their legs.
Victorians in outdoor streets and in cafes covered their arms and legs, respectively at 18 per cent and 49 per cent, the study found.
While about one in three people wore a hat to parks, gardens, pools and beaches, most did not protect their face, neck or ears enough.
The majority of people seen at parks, pools or beaches or at cafes did not seek shade.
But half of the people were seen wearing sunglasses at the pool or beach while one in three people shielded their eyes at parks, gardens, cafes and on the streets.
People aged 50 or above were more likely than those younger to slip, slop, slap.
"The sun's UV radiation is strong enough at this time of year to cause a sunburn in just 11 minutes. Although the signs will fade, the damage remains," SunSmart manager Heather Walker said.
"The more time you spend unprotected in the sun, the more UV damage will build-up, increasing your risk of skin cancer, including the deadliest form - melanoma."
Almost 3000 Victorians were diagnosed with melanoma and 270 died from the disease in 2017.
Loose clothing, a hat, shade, sunglasses and sunscreen together are recommended to beat the burn.
The study is based on observations made at 249 venues of 5451 people.