Alert over widespread sunscreen myths
YOUNG mum Hope Medcraft says regularly applying sunscreen to her toddler is a 'no-brainer', but many Australians are holding on to various sun protection myths - at their considerable peril say the Cancer Council.
Hope Medcraft, 23, said she was vigilant with applying sunscreen to her one-year-old daughter, Indeah Young.
"I think it's a no brainer, sunscreen is proven to be very important in protecting you from skin cancer," she said.
"I wouldn't go into the sun without putting it on Indeah."
But according to new research by the Cancer Council Australians still don't understand sunscreen and are confused about whether daily use is safe
They found that an overwhelming amount of Aussies are as confused about sunscreen use than they were three years ago, with only 55 per cent recognising it is safe to use it every day, down from 61 per cent in 2014.
Up to 17 per cent of those surveyed as part of the National Sun Protection Survey, which tested 3614 people between 18-69 years old, believed sunscreen contained ingredients that were bad for your health, while 20 per cent thought using it meant they would not be exposed to enough vitamin D.
Cancer Council Australia chairman of the public health committee Craig Sinclair said he was concerned Australians were not trusting sunscreen when evidence of its effectiveness in reducing skin cancer was stronger than ever.
"Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer in their lifetime," Mr Sinclair said.
"Sunscreen has been proven to prevent skin cancer, including the most deadly type - melanoma.
"With an alarming number of Australians believing myths about sunscreen, it's time to bust the myths and get the right information out there about sun protection."
The Cancer Council research found the most common myths were that it was unsafe to use sunscreen on a daily basis, using a water resistant solution meant you could spend longer in the sun, and that sunscreen solution was bad for your skin.
Associate Professor Stephen Shumack from the Australasian College of Dermatologists said sensitivities to sunscreen were extremely rare.
"A small number of Australians may experience sunscreen sensitivities that require follow-up with a health professional," he said.
"Young babies in particular have sensitive skin, that's why we don't generally recommend widespread use of sunscreen in the first six months of life.
"The primary forms of sun protection should always be protective clothing, hats, shade and sunglasses for babies and children of any age. For older children, sunscreen can be used on the parts of the body not covered by clothing."
The National Sun Protection Survey, to be presented at the World Congress of Melanoma in Brisbane today, is conducted every three to four years by Cancer Council.