Australia and New Zealand have the highest incidence of skin cancer globally. Two-in-three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime, and several awareness campaigns in that country try to educate people from a young age about the risk of skin cancer. One of the key points within those campaigns is the use of sunscreen (or suncream, as the Aussies like to call it) but it seems that this message is not coming through entirely. A new study shows that many Australians worry about safety.
Many Australians are not using sunscreen on a daily basis – although the UV exposure from the sun is very high almost every day. A survey done by Cancer Council Australia shows two main concerns.
Safety & Vitamin D
Only 55 per cent of Australians recognised it was safe to use sunscreen every day. These concerns center around ingredients in sunscreen products that may not be safe. Although there are differences in products – some of them consist of more aggressive ingredients – Cancer Council Australia public health committee chair Craig Sinclair refuted claims that sunscreen is harmful, saying the evidence is stronger than ever that it is safe and effective to use.
Also, one-in-five out of 3,614 people surveyed believing that using sunscreen regularly would result in not having enough vitamin D. This concern is also waived by the council as vitamin D intake will not suffer by using sunscreen regularly. Most people get enough vitamin D through incidental sun exposure.
Using and re-applying sunscreen
The advice from Cancer Council Australia is to use sunscreen every day, especially when you are outside or have to travel. Make sure to re-apply every 2/3 hours as well.
Make sure to perform regular self-checks. Start by joining the SkinVision program and download the app as a first step – which enables you to check for early skin cancer signs.