The incidence of skin cancer in Australia is one of the highest in the world, with two in three Australians diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they reach 70.
This highlights the need for Australians to be SunSmart – and recent changes to sunscreen will allow for improved UVA protection.
A new standard announced by the Therapeutic Goods Administration on November 10 has allowed manufacturers to increase the sun protection factor in sunscreens to SPF50+, a change the Cancer Council NSW supports.
Australians are likely to see SPF50+ sunscreens on the shelves around mid-January.
Cancer Council NSW's skin cancer prevention manager Vanessa Rock welcomed the standard but warned people not to overestimate the level of protection.
"Despite the big difference in SPF numbers on the label, in fact the new SPF50+ sunscreen offers marginally better protection from UVB radiation, which causes sunburn and adds to skin cancer risk," she said.
"SPF50+ filters out 98% of UVB radiation compared to 96.7% blocked by SPF30. It’s not a suit of armour; it needs to be applied just as generously, reapplied every two hours, and used in conjunction with protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and shade."
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