Apply Sun-Screen Right, Keep Skin Cancer Away

Skin cancer experts say that many people in Australia are not using sunscreen properly and thus increasing their chances of damage from the sun. Sue Heward at Cancer Council Victoria estimates that around 2000 people in Australia die every year of skin cancer and that there is a direct correlation between the proper use of sunscreen and the reduction in risk of contracting melanoma as well as other forms of skin cancer.

Moreover, around half the people who use sunscreen are either not using the right amount or forgetting to renew the application every couple of hours. Scientists in laboratories use around twice the quantity of sunscreen applied by the average user to measure the Sun Protection Factor. They recommend that the average user use around 35 mL (approximately 7 teaspoons) for each application. Otherwise, even if sunscreen rated at a Sun Protection Factor of more than 30 may not even be able to achieve a factor of 10.

Terry Slevin who looks after research at Cancer Council WA says that even sunscreen is far from being ideal in the prevention of skin cancer. He says that it helps but should not be considered to be complete protection against the sun and other means of protection such as wearing clothes or a hat are also required. It is also important to keep in mind that sunscreen has an expiry date and active ingredients could become ineffective at high temperatures.

If you have sunscreen left over from last year, the best thing is to simply throw it away and get yourself a new tube. Price is not necessarily indicative of quality so you should buy the sunscreen that you like because there's a better chance that you will actually use it. Cancer Council Australia recommends the use of broad spectrum and water resistant sunscreen was a Sun Protection Factor of between 30+ and 50+.

Here are some tips on how to apply sunscreen. The right amount to use is 1 teaspoon for each arm and leg, 1 teaspoon each for the front and the back and 1 teaspoon for the face, your neck and your ears. Use it 20 min before you go out in the sun so that it has time to absorb into the top of your skin and will not easily rub off. Finally, it should be applied every two hours because it can easily be removed if, for instance, you lie down on your towel.

Despite all the publicity, the trend in the numbers is alarming. Two out of every three Australians will contract skin cancer by the time they are 70 years old and the number of cases has increased by an astonishing 60% over the last 30 years. This is in addition to the other effects of the sun such as wrinkled skin and changes in texture and pigmentation. Because of the constant exposure to the sun in Australia, sunscreen should be applied every day regardless of the climatic conditions. There are plenty of products to choose from so you are sure to find something that you would like.

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