Cancer Council Australia

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SPF 50+

A new standard allowing manufacturers to increase the sun protection factor in sunscreens from SPF30+ to SPF50+ and adding improved UVA protection was announced recently.

The new standard is likely to see SPF50+ sunscreens on pharmacy and supermarket shelves by around mid-January 2013, though some could appear sooner.

The new SPF50+ sunscreen offers marginally better protection from UVB radiation, which causes sunburn and adds to skin cancer risk. SPF50+ filters out 98% of UVB radiation compared to 96.7% blocked by SPF30.

It needs to be applied just as generously, reapplied every two hours, and used in conjunction with protective clothing, a broad-brimmed hat, sunglasses and shade.

Any new SPF30 sunscreens will have the same UVB protection as previous SPF30 sunscreens, but are required to have a higher UVA protection in order to be labelled ?broad-spectrum?. The sun's UVA wavelengths are responsible for the sun's ageing effect on the skin and also contribute to skin cancer risk.

There is no need to throw away your current sunscreen. Cancer Council recommends using any sunscreen of at least SPF30 which is labelled as being water-resistant and broad-spectrum.

Manufacturers will be allowed to continue producing and selling their current formulations. The new standard applies to new products only and is simply a little better, and offers more choice.

For more information, read the SPF50+ sunscreens set to hit shelves this summer media release.

This page was last updated on: Wednesday, May 22, 2019

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