UV still dangerous even when skies are grey
ABOUT two-thirds of Bundaberg residents do not properly protect themselves from the sun in winter.
The statistics show young women are the worst culprits, with some saying they feel "daggy", it was too much effort or that protective clothing was too uncomfortable.
Last year's annual Queensland Health report showed only 29% of residents in the Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service area, which includes Bundaberg, used three or more sun protection methods during winter.
Of 16 health areas, this was the seventh worst.
The number of sun smart residents was much higher in summer, when more than half, or 54%, of people used three sun safety behaviours, which included sunscreen, clothing, a hat, sunglasses and seeking shade.
Cancer Council Queensland figures showed about 165 melanomas were diagnosed in the Wide Bay Burnett region every year.
The council's spokeswoman Katie Clift said sun damage was not just a summer thing, especially in Queensland.
She said cooler temperatures did not affect the UV index level, which meant skin could be affected even when it was cold.
"Sun damage is just as likely during a Queensland winter as the summer season," she said.
In response to startling statistics that showed young women were among the least sun safe, the Queensland Government launched a campaign, Stay Pretty Forever, to encourage women to think about their skin.
Ms Clift said it was not just beach, pool or sport activities in summer when people were vulnerable in the sun.
She said sitting outside a coffee shop, walking to the shops or a barbecue with friends without sun protection could put anyone at risk of skin cancer.
In the Wide Bay region, 29% of people used three or more sun protection methods in winter
This increased to 54% of people in summer
52% of Queenslanders reported being sunburnt in 2013
Young adults were the worst, with 72% of 18-24s being sunburnt
Why young people don't use sun protection
Not wanting to look different from peers
Takes too much effort