Though there are now sunscreens with a higher sun protective factor (SPF) available on the market – SPF 50+ recently offered – Australian Medical Association (AMA) president Dr Steve Hambleton has warned people not to limit their sun protection only to 'stronger sunscreens'.
Dr Hambleton said that people should still limit their time in the sun, particularly during the middle of the day, and advised seeking a spot in the shade.
"These products offer more protection, but people shouldn’t become careless about comprehensive sun safety for themselves and their families," he said.
"The SPF number should be used as a guide on the level of protection, but it should not be used to determine how long it will take in the sun to become sunburnt."
Dr Hambleton added that "prevention is better than treatment", with skin cancer accounting for around 80 per cent of all newly diagnosed cancers, with between 95 and 99 per cent of skin cancers caused by sun exposure.
"This is really important for all people spending time outside over the summer – at the beach, river or swimming pool, music festivals, walking, cycling or jogging, playing sport, or going to sporting and cultural events," said Dr Hambleton.