Sunbaking on the beach.
Sunbaking on the beach. Grainger Laffan

Less sun beats sunscreen

APPLYING the correct amount of sunscreen and staying out of the sun altogether would do more to reduce skin cancer rate than the introduction of SPF 50 sunscreen, a local skin cancer doctor says.

Standards Australia yesterday announced it was considering lifting the SPF limit to 50+, citing public interest and consumer demand.

Australians are not able to buy sunscreen rated above SPF 30, despite products of up to 100 SPF being available in other countries.

The new standard would bring Australia “in line with international trends and in recognition of cancer protection”, according to the organisation.

But there have been claims the proposal is more about selling sunscreen than protecting skin.

The Cancer Council says that while the move could provide a marketing advantage to sunscreen sellers, it could also lull people into a false sense of security and encourage longer exposure to the sun.

It says people typically put on one-third to half as much product as they should and SPF 50 would make very little difference overall.

Northern Rivers Skin Cancer Clinic doctor Jeffrey Keir said SPF50 would be an advantage for a select sub-group, such as those with immunosuppressive disorders, but of limited benefit to the average consumer.

He said people needed to get out of the habit of relying on sunscreen.

“For the ordinary person, the main thing is avoiding the midday sun altogether,” he said.