Coming to Australia? Don’t pack sunscreen!

Sunscreen

Sunscreen (Photo credit: Joe Shlabotnik)

Sunscreen is my favourite thing to talk about. There isn’t a day of the year, hot or cold, rain hail or shine, that I won’t be wearing my favourite skin anti-ager; sunscreen. I’ve noticed a few people from outside of Australia reading my blog, and I would love to get your thoughts about this article, or to find out if what I’m talking about is news to you or if it was something you were already aware of.

It is a well-known fact that there is a nice hole in the Ozone layer right above our island home; Australia. But what does that really mean to anyone that’s considering a trip to the land down under?

It means that our sun is a lot nastier. Probably some of the nastiest sun rays in the world are directed at us poor Aussies. I’ve seen countless cliche tourists with a painful red burnt skin, having spent too long on Bondi Beach. Many find it a genuine surprise that despite the fact they were wearing and reapplying sunscreen all day, and it’s SPF 100 (Sun Protection Factor), they come home and later turn red and start to feel the very painful burn.

What (I’m presuming) people visiting this amazing country don’t understand, is that the sunscreen they bring from their own country, might actually be an SPF 100 in their own sun, but compared to our sunscreen, it’s probably more like a 10. The law in Australia in regards to manufacturing sunscreens are very different to overseas laws, to compensate for the difference in our sun. It can take years of expensive testing to get a sunscreen formula approved for sale in Australia. It’s only been very recently that SPF 50 has come on to our market.

So, the best thing I can recommend is to buy it here. You don’t want to run the risk of going home with a nasty skin cancer, or skin conditions like pigmentation (once you’ve got it it’s really hard to get rid of it). It’s best to look for something that’s AT LEAST SPF 30+, and it must be BROAD SPECTRUM, this ensures that you get protection against both UVA and UVB sun damage

UVA – ‘ageing’ sunrays. These are the most common and what most sunscreens address in their protection.

UVB – ‘burning’ sunrays. These are the nasties which are in higher concentration in Australia because of the hole in our ozone layer.

Broad spectrum covers both. You don’t need to spend a fortune on it, the Australian Cancer Council sell quite cheap but very good quality sunscreens (especially good for stocking up on if you plan to spend a lot of time in the sun – what I actually do is get a cheaper sunscreen for the body, and use my skin care sunscreen for the face, everyday!) You will find that it’s actually sold at the airport on your way into the country.

My aim is to one day have campaigns alerting visitors to the consequences of the Australian Sun, all over the Australian International Airport. It’s scary how quickly it can cause lasting damage, and how little the people I’ve already dealt with have actually known about the subject. I’d love to get some feedback about this, is this something that you knew about? Or is the sunscreen situation in the land down under news to you?