Slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade, and slide on sunglasses, as the popular sun protection commercial tells us. However, with summer vacations approaching, the Cancer Council has advised Australians to be cautious about how they apply sunscreen, citing new data from Queensland University of Technology (QUT).
Aerosol sunscreens may increase the risk of sunburn in Australians
According to new research, aerosol sunscreens are putting Australians at risk of sunburn by making it impossible to acquire enough UV protection. “Our first recommendation is to avoid using aerosol sunscreen products, but if you insist on using them, use extreme caution,” SunSmart’s Heather Walker warned. “Consumers are advised to ‘use liberally’ or ‘use generously’ on the packaging, which is open to interpretation and leaves them exposed.” Even bathing your body with the lotion could not provide the kind of protection you’re looking for.” Spray periods for aerosol sunscreens to achieve the UV protection claimed on the packaging ranged from 4 to 14 seconds per limb or 29 to 98 seconds for a full body treatment, according to QUT research. However, when employed in common scenarios like the beach, researchers warned that spray times would be substantially longer. Based on a study of nine common commercially available aerosol sunscreen products, some contained less than half of the recommended amount of sunscreen.
Discrepancies between aerosol brands make it difficult for customers to determine how much sunscreen they are actually applying, according to Dr Rick Tinker, director of evaluation and advising for the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). Mr Tinker stated, “Three of the aerosols examined could only sufficiently cover two full body applications — not enough to safeguard a family.” “To account for differences in aerosol brands, the product would have to be applied in higher volumes to be safe.” Using a cream or lotion to provide proper covering is likely to be a more dependable method.” Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world, with about 2000 people dying from it each year. Melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, was identified in approximately one person every 30 minutes, according to the Australian government. Skin cancer is almost totally preventable with appropriate sun protection, despite its high prevalence. “After protective clothes, a broad-brimmed hat, wrap-around sunglasses, and shade, sunscreen should always be considered the last line of defense,” Ms Walker added.
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