Why slop is better than spray for sun protection

 

Nine popular sun protection products are exposing Australians to sunburn because they take too long to apply to get the right UV protection.

The alarming discovery was made by Queensland University of Technology researchers who examined nine commercially available aerosol sunscreen products.

Their research showed it could take between 4 to 14 seconds per limb and 29 to 98 seconds for a full body application to get the advertised UV protection. The actual time could be even higher as the tests were done in a laboratory in controlled conditions. Some also contained more propellant than sunscreen.

The products investigated were: Ultra Sheer Body Mist Sunscreen and Beach Defence Sunscreen Spray from Neutrogena, Simply Protect Kids Spray, Sport Cool Zone Spray, Ultra Clear Spray, Dry Balance Clear Spray, all from Banana Boat, Tropic Silk Hydration Sunscreen Spray from Hawaiian Tropic, Sunscreen Sport Spray from Surf Life Saving, and Sunscreen Spray Everyday from Woolworths.

The findings have led the Cancer Council and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency to urge Australians to avoid aerosol sunscreens.

 

The Cancer Council and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency are urging Australians to avoid aerosol sunscreens.
The Cancer Council and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency are urging Australians to avoid aerosol sunscreens.

 

"We've actually been advising against [aerosol] sunscreen for some time because we've been concerned about application and this research really cements those concerns," Sun­Smart head Heather Walker, said.

"It's showing us, basically across the board, as an application method, aerosols aren't necessarily giving Aussies the protection they think they're getting," Ms Walker, said.

"It's more than a minute spray time for a full body application - I can't imagine anyone doing that at the beach. Our concern is people are getting a false sense of security, because they are applying it like insect repellent, like a quick spritz."

Ms Walker said people thinking they were covered was possibly even worse than not having any protection, because they would probably spend longer outside. The quantity of propellent diluted the sunscreen and meant more product was needed to achieve adequate SPF coverage.

Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world with nearly 2000 people dying from skin cancer each year.

Melbourne mum Katie Lavigne thought the results were frightening.

Her children Isla, 7, and Edie, 4, were taught to be sunsmart, so it was important they were using the right products. "You feel a little bit ripped off … You are relying on the fact it's going to protect your family, and that's not the case."

andrew.koubaridis@news.com.au

Originally published as Why slop is better than spray for sun protection


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