Australians are ignoring our safe sun exposure policies and sunsmart advice—and recent AMA research demonstrates we are actually using less sunscreen than Europeans.
According to AMA (NSW) president Dr Saxon Smith, we need to do more to stop indulging in our love of the sun without taking precautions.
“Everyone in Australia is familiar with the sun safe messages of slip, slop, slap, seek and slide but there’s evidence people aren’t acting on this information,” says Dr Smith.
“Spain, Switzerland, Denmark, Austria and Norway all reported a greater annual per capita usage of sunscreen than Australia.
“The really worrying thing is that this same research showed Australians used an average of 60ml of sunscreen in 2012.
“For whole body protection, that’s about enough for two days’ worth of protection and not nearly enough for a whole year,” Dr Smith says.
“Australians face greater dangers from sun exposure than people in most other countries.
“We have the highest rate of skin cancer in the world, even though 95% of skin cancers are preventable through sun safe behaviour.”
Dr Smith says everyone should wear protective clothing, use adequate amounts of sunscreen every day; and avoid sun exposure during peak times.
“As a dermatologist, every day, I treat people who are suffering from various different kinds of skin cancer.
“Ranging from the eminently treatable up to and including highly aggressive and terminal melanoma.
“You know the right things to do to avoid needing to see a dermatologist in the future.
“Be sun safe this summer (and every day of the year) and you will be significantly less likely to need to see someone like me later in life,” Dr Smith says.