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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is the ideal SPF sunscreen to use during the summer?

    Related Topics
    Is 30 SPF high enough? I know there is such thing as 50 and 70 SPF but I have heard that they don't protect significantly more than 30 SPF. I'd like to get a professional opinion on this as I spend a lot of time in the sun when it's hot out.
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  • 1

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    Dr Helko Schenk

    GP (General Practitioner)

    I am an enthusiastic grass roots GP in regional Geraldton and provide all aspects of family medicine and general practice, happily deal with injuries and minor … View Profile

    We should limit our sun exposure in the summer months (or all year when in hot countries nearer the equator) by:

    Staying indoors or seeking the shade as much as possible in the hours of very broad and hot daylight (between 8:20am – to 4:40pm Summertime in Geraldton where I live -!)

    Plan your outdoor time for early morning and evening times
    Covering up with clothes and a wide brimmed hat when you are out in the sunshine.

    Keeping Carwindows up and use airdonditioner if this is too hot.
    Applying sunscreen of at least SPF 30, which also has high UVA protection. Use sun screen 20 min before going outside and reapply sun screen every 2 hours.
    Remember that Australians have a 1:2 chance liftime risk of non melanoma skin cancer which goes up with any excess sun exposure, so as good as possible protection is advised and avoidance is better.
    Melanoma which is the rarer but often more severe skin cancer goes up with pulsed light exposure and continued sun exposure has a somewhat protective effect – again best possible protection makes sense

    You sensibly would still need 10 – 15 min of sun exposure twice a week to generate enough Vit D in your skin



  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Helko Schenk

    GP (General Practitioner)

    I am an enthusiastic grass roots GP in regional Geraldton and provide all aspects of family medicine and general practice, happily deal with injuries and minor … View Profile

    No need to throw it out, factor 50 will give some further but minimal reduction in UVA and UVB rays, UVB causing sunburn and UVA aging wrinkling. The effect of slip slap and slop campaign has been proven, SPF 50 only coming out, we need to see how this UV reduction translates into skin cancer reduction. But it makes sense to slip slap slop, sunnies on and to stay in the shade!
    Definitely don’t get lulled into a false sense of security with higher SPF sunscreens.

  • 1

    Thanks

    Dr Roger Woods

    Plastic Surgeon (Reconstructive & Cosmetic)

    Dr Woods is an accomplished Plastic Surgeon, caring for children and adults in Adelaide, who have cosmetic concerns or require reconstruction after cancer or injuries. … View Profile

    Shade, hats, sunglasses and clothing (long sleeves, long pants) provide the best protection.
    SPF 30 sunscreen is sufficient for the exposed parts of your body. Please remember to reapply as frequently (as directed on your specific sunscreen tube) -and also apply more often when you are performing activities where you are exposed to moisture (eg swimming or exercise causing sweating).

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