Higher SPF ratings don’t mean you’re invincible to skin damage from the sun, especially if you’re using expired sunscreen.
“If you let your sunscreen burn out by not wearing enough, not reapplying it often enough or because it’s old you might get sunburnt anyway,” AMA (NSW) President, Dr Saxon Smith, said.
Dr Smith says new research he has conducted shows people are often not aware sunscreen has an expiry date, many are unaware of how to store it properly and most people don’t wear enough.
“You wouldn’t drink expired milk and you shouldn’t wear expired sunscreen,” Dr Smith said.
“Sunscreen loses effectiveness after it’s past its use-by date and more than one third of people don’t check to see if their sunscreen is expired.
“If you want full protection, make sure you check the expiry date on your sunscreen before you head to the beach,” Dr Smith said.
“Sunscreen tends to go off like milk as well, if it’s not stored in a cool enough location.
“It needs to be stored under 25 degrees Celsius but nearly two-thirds of people aren’t aware of this.
“If you store it in a hot place, like the car, it’s going to be less effective when you wear it,” Dr Smith said.
“If you’re wearing expired or improperly stored sunscreen, you’re going to burn your sunscreen out – it just won’t work as well as it says on the packaging.
“This means you could burn or suffer skin damage and we all know that can lead to skin cancer.
“Your best bet is to buy new sunscreen every summer.” Dr Smith said.
“My research also found most people don’t wear enough sunscreen.
“Only 15 per cent of people use the recommended 40ml, or two tablespoons, to cover their face and body.
“Sunscreen SPF ratings are measured when the recommended amount is applied which means if you wear less you won’t get the protection that’s listed on the bottle,” Dr Smith said.
“Additionally, many people are unaware of what SPF ratings mean.
“If you burn in the sun after three minutes, wearing SPF 30 sunscreen will extend this to an hour and a half.
“Wearing SPF 50 sunscreen would, theoretically, extend the duration in this example to two and a half hours but you still need to re-apply sunscreen every two hours.
“Keep in mind, the amount of sun you can withstand before burning varies from person to person,” Dr Smith said.
Media contact: Lachlan Jones (02) 9902 8113 / 0419 402 955