Stay safe in hot sum­mer sun

Pilbara News - - Lifestyle - Gwyn­neth Hay­wood Gwyn­neth Hay­wood is the se­nior re­gional of­fi­cer at Con­sumer Pro­tec­tion.

Con­sumers suf­fer­ing al­ler­gic re­ac­tions to sun­screen or burns when us­ing it have been re­ported in the me­dia re­cently, so it seems timely to pro­vide some tips.

The fol­low­ing in­for­ma­tion from WA’s De­part­ment of Health and The Aus­tralian Col­lege of Der­ma­tol­o­gists.

Sun­screen alone is not enough to pro­tect us from the sun’s harm­ful rays.

No doubt you will be fa­mil­iar with these com­bined mes­sages:

SLIP on pro­tec­tive cloth­ing, in­clud­ing when you are in wa­ter.

SLOP on sun­screen — a lib­eral amount of SPF 30+ or higher gen­tly lay­ered on all ex­posed skin 20 min­utes be­fore go­ing out­side and reap­plied at least ev­ery two hours.

SLAP on a hat — broad-brimmed or one with fab­ric cov­er­ing the back of the neck.

SEEK shade — avoid sun ex­po­sure com­pletely in the mid­dle of the day.

SLIDE on some sun­glasses — prefer­ably lens cat­e­gory three or four.

Choose sun­screen la­belled broad-spec­trum, which means it pro­tects against UVA and UVB rays.

Sun­screen should meet Aus­tralian stan­dards – AS/NZS 2604:2012 on the la­bel means tested and reg­u­lated by the Ther­a­peu­tic Goods Ad­min­is­tra­tion. Ad­verse re­ac­tions or doubts about ef­fi­cacy can be re­ported to the TGA via tga.gov.au.

Read in­gre­di­ents to see whether there’s any­thing you or your fam­ily are known to be al­ler­gic to.

How­ever, in­gre­di­ent-la­belling re­quire­ments for sun­screens are a bit dif­fer­ent for cos­met­ics, so cer­tain things con­tained in the prod­uct may not be listed.

This makes it imperative to carry out a patch test — putting a blob on a small area of skin, such as your in­ner arm, for 24 — to en­sure no re­ac­tion is suf­fered.

Price shouldn’t af­fect the level of pro­tec­tion you get.

A cheap bot­tle of SPF30+ should do the same as an ex­pen­sive one.

Cost dif­fer­ence usu­ally re­lates to whether it’s a lotion, cream, spray, roll-on or wipes, and you’re pay­ing for how it looks and feels on skin, con­ve­nient pack­ag­ing and easy ap­pli­ca­tion.

Look for wa­ter-re­sis­tant sun­screen to re­pel sweat and for when you go in a pool or the ocean but you’ll need to reap­ply after dry­ing off. Lack of reap­pli­ca­tion is the main rea­son for sun­burn.

Check the ex­piry date be­cause it has to be used by then.

If you go on to suf­fer burn­ing, sting­ing or red­ness when us­ing a sun­screen, don’t use it again and re­port it to the man­u­fac­turer and the TGA. It is rec­om­mended not to use sun­screen on ba­bies un­der six months old.

Cloth­ing, hats and keep­ing out of mid­dle-of-the-day sun are bet­ter op­tions for in­fants.

The tem­per­a­ture of your sun­screen needs to be lower than 30C. Store sun­screen in your esky, wrap it in a towel or put it in shade and don’t leave it in a hot car or full sun­shine.

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