We were all taught to slip, slop, slap and wrap from a young age but have we really learnt much if Australia continues to have some of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world? It’s a harsh reality but so is how you’re treating your skin if you aren’t protecting yourself against life changing skin cancers by simply applying SPF daily.
Why Is Skin Cancer So Common In Australia?
Australia has some of the highest levels of UV radiation from the sun all year round thanks to our climate and the proximity to the equator. UV rays can’t actually be seen or felt so with many Australians having fair skin that isn’t suited to harsh conditions, you’re at an increased risk of developing skin cancer if you have:
- Pale or freckled skin that burns easily and doesn’t tan.
- Red or fair hair and light coloured eyes.
- Frequently been exposed to UV radiation, worked outdoors or been exposed to arsenic without protection.
- Actively tanned or used tanning beds.
- A weakened immune system.
- A health condition or use of medication that may make your skin more sensitive to UV radiation.
- A number of moles or moles with irregular shapes and uneven colour.
- Had skin cancer previously or have a family history of skin cancer.
If you don’t quite understand what skin cancer is, we’ll break it down for you with the help of the Cancer Council. Skin cancer is an uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the skin, it’s a solid type of cancer which means the abnormal cells form a mass or lump otherwise known as a tumour. Those tumours can invade nearby tissue, destroy normal cells and break away to travel through your bloodstream or lymph vessels. The three main types of skin cancer are:
- Basal Cell Carcinoma (BCC)
- Squamous Cell Carcinoma (SCC)
- Melanoma, which is the most common cancer affecting Australians aged 20 to 39.
Why Sunscreen Is Important To Sun Skills
Your skin is the largest organ of your body, acting as a barrier to protect your body from injury, control temperature and prevent loss of body fluids. What’s even more incredible is that there’s clear evidence that regular use of sunscreen helps to prevent skin cancer!
- Over 95% of skin cancer is caused by exposure to UV radiation.
- Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with some form of skin cancer before the age of 70 with rates increasing by 6% a year over the past three decades.
- Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common cancer diagnosed in Australia with over one million treatments given each year.
- About 1,300 Australians die from melanoma each year.
- 1 Australian is diagnosed with melanoma every 30 minutes.
Skin cancer currently costs the Australian health system more than $1.7 billion a year with Queensland being the skin cancer capital of the world. This is where Sun Skills comes in, changing the narrative so it becomes the norm to wear a bucket hat and put sunscreen on every day. Your skin can’t protect itself from the sun which means the more you’re exposed, the greater your risk of skin cancer. This is why sunscreen should just be one part of your sun protection routine as you take preventative action by wearing clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), sporting a hat that shades your face and protecting your eyes with sunglasses. By investing in education and prevention, we hope Australian’s can prolong their skin's youth and prevent skin cancer with a broad spectrum SPF50+ sunscreen that they use daily and love.
How Does The TGA Rate Sunscreen?
We’re lucky in Australia that the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) takes our SPF regulations very seriously which means we’re world leaders by sunscreen standards, winning. All Australian sunscreens are approved by the TGA to ensure they meet all the legal requirements, only have approved ingredients and are safe and effective.
The TGA has easy two ways of classifying sunscreen:
- Primary - Any sunscreen product that has the primary function of providing SPF protection. This is registered with the TGA to ensure it has been produced in a good manufacturing practice (GMP) factory so specific rules and practices are followed during the manufacturing process. It also makes sure legislation is met and the product has undergone specific testing.
- Secondary - This is any product that contains SPF15+ but isn’t primarily used for SPF protection. Think of your favourite foundation or concealer that has SPF but is actually used as makeup.
You might be wondering how you can tell the difference between the two? Well that’s easy, you’ll be able to spot a five-digit Aust L number on a primary sunscreen, this is the code assigned to all products registered with the TGA. The best part is that you can then search the ARTG Register to see details like when the SPF was listed and approved claims the sunscreen can make.
All Australian products with an SPF rating must undergo extensive testing before being given an SPF rating. Remember, the SPF rating indicates the amount that product is protecting you against UV rays. A great example is our Sun Skills SPF50, which basically means that it’s 50 times more effective at protecting you than if you weren’t wearing any sun protection at all.
How Sun Skills Is Breaking SPF Stereotypes
We’re big on educating you honestly and openly about how often you should really be wearing sunscreen, how to apply it correctly and where it could fit in your morning routine so that you and your family are safe from harmful rays. The Sun Skills team hopes that everyone learns something new whether that’s to wear sunscreen during winter or even what blue light filters can do to your skin.
What worries us is that most people don’t wear any or enough sunscreen because it’s thought to be thick and greasy. This is where rumours started about it causing breakouts, clogging pores and irritating your skin, which might happen if you wear certain sweatproof sunscreens on your face that are actually designed for your body. Sunscreen doesn’t have to be a greasy pore-blocking burden which is why we’re addressing those barriers with a clean skin-loving SPF range. Our sun protection collection has non-greasy formulas that are free from parabens and sulphates, the best part is that they’re made right here under the Australian sun. They’re also formulated with nourishing natural ingredients like Kakadu plum and aloe vera to protect against free radicals, strengthen your skin's barrier and hydrate for glowing skin.
Sun damage is actually the number one cause of premature aging and skin cancer so our Sun Skills SPF range is one you’ll actually want to wear everyday whether you have sensitive skin, are applying under makeup or lathering your family up for a beach day. It might seem like overkill but we love drama so we’re not kidding when we say that sunscreen is the most important product you’ll use so you can never be too careful.
If you’ve just ordered one of our skin-loving sunscreens, we encourage you to get to know and love the skin you’re in by getting your skin checked by a GP or dermatologist. Doing this regularly will help you notice any new or changing spots that could potentially save your life, be proactive and make an appointment today.