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90% of Australian men risking skin cancer during winter

Armen Hareyan's picture

A consumer survey released in time for the first day of winter revealed the vast majority of Australian men (89%) and women (82%) surveyed risk skin cancer by ignoring health warnings to wear sunscreen daily during the winter months.

“These Canstar Blue survey results are concerning as health experts agree it is important to include sun protection as a daily ritual all year. This is particularly important in Australia where we have one of the highest incidences of skin cancer in the world, at nearly four times the rates in Canada, the US and the UK,” said CANSTAR CANNEX Head of Research Steve Mickenbecker.

Five reasons to wear sunscreen in winter

Skin will burn regardless of the temperature. The sun is closer to Earth during winter and its rays are just as harmful as they are during summer. It is important to use high protection sunscreen if you plan on spending more than 15 minutes outside.

Snow makes the sun’s rays stronger. Snow reflects 80% of the sun’s UV rays back at your skin. If you are near snow or ice it is important to wear a sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30.

Makeup with an SPF won’t cut it in most cases. Dermatologists agree it is unlikely most women apply enough makeup to adequately protect skin. It is best to apply a sunscreen with broad spectrum protection first and apply makeup once the sunscreen has been absorbed.

The sun is stronger at higher altitudes. UV intensity increases by 10% for every 1,000 foot increase in elevation. You are therefore more likely to get sunburnt or sun damage when skiing or snowboarding.

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Dry skin can be more susceptible to sun damage. The winter months can take a toll on your skin and ensuring it is protected with sunscreen when exposed is all the more important.

Australian research published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology in December 2010 demonstrated for the first time that regular sunscreen use can prevent the most deadly form of skin cancer, melanoma.

The Canstar Blue consumer satisfaction survey also revealed Hamilton Laboratories beat its competitors by coming out on top with most satisfied sunscreen customers, taking out the title over leading brands including Cancer Council, Banana Boat, Invisible Zinc and Le Tan. “Hamilton Laboratories is the clear winner in the eyes of its customers, taking out the prize in numerous categories, including overall satisfaction, product effectiveness, smell and packaging,” Mr Mickenbecker said.

Canstar Blue, a new initiative of CANSTAR CANNEX, commissions Colmar Brunton to survey 2,500 Australian consumers across a range of categories every few months to measure and track customer satisfaction.

The outcomes reported are the results from those who had bought sunscreen in the last 12 months within the survey group. “We launched Canstar Blue to give Australians a free online resource to help them with their key purchasing decisions by making it simple for them to learn from the experiences of other consumers. It is essentially a guide to product excellence as voted by customers,” Mr Mickenbecker said.

The independent survey was undertaken in conjunction with professional market researchers, Colmar Brunton. The full Canstar Blue results are available at Canstarblue.com.au.

Written by Nina Tovey