Are Australian Sunscreens Better Than U.S. Versions?

Are Australian Sunscreens Better Than U.S. Versions? featured image

Aussies know solar care higher than anybody else on the planet. This is due to Australia’s unusually harsh solar and excessive UV publicity, which, in keeping with NASA, outcomes primarily from its location within the Southern Hemisphere: “The elliptical orbit of the Earth places the Southern Hemisphere closer to the sun during its summer months than the Northern Hemisphere during its summer.” Unfortunately, this additionally outcomes on the earth’s highest charges of pores and skin most cancers. That is why the Australian authorities has established strict SPF requirements.

“Australia takes sun protection measures very seriously, as they have the highest rate of melanoma cases,” says Miami dermatologist Dr. Deborah Longwill. “They have the strictest testing facilities and requirements for all sunscreens being sold there.” But does this imply Aussie sunscreen—a few of which is offered within the U.S. now, like Blue Lizard and Bondi Sands—is best or simpler than American variations? Let’s examine.

The Aussie Difference

“In Australia, SPF-containing products are divided into therapeutic sunscreens and cosmetic sunscreens,” says Aussie beauty chemist Michelle Wong, founding father of Lab Muffin Science. “Therapeutic sunscreens include primary sunscreens higher than SPF 4 and moisturizers with SPF higher than 15. In other words, these are the serious sunscreens that you’d rely on to protect you from the sun, and they’re regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration—the TGA is similar to the FDA in the U.S., but the drug part only. Cosmetic sunscreens are everything else, including lip products and foundations with SPF higher than 4, moisturizers with SPF 15 or lower, and sunbathing skin-care products with SPF between 4 and 15. These are regulated like regular cosmetic products, and by two different organizations.”

Dakota Green, cofounder of Vacation by Poolside FM, a coming-soon sunscreen model, says that the TGA and FDA are fairly related. “While many of the differences in the organizations’ regulations are minor—they measure water resistance in hours versus minutes—the TGA tends to be on the leading edge of innovations in sun care,” he explains. “For example, they’ve approved the use of many more filters and newer filters that are even better at protecting against UVA, the type of UV protection that helps prevent skin cancer.”

Wong says broad-spectrum safety (UVA and UVB) is necessary for Australian therapeutic sunscreen, and solely sure SPF numbers are allowed: 4, 6, 8, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 40, 50 and 50+. Whereas within the U.S., the model is allowed to place the precise quantity the sunscreen examined at, corresponding to SPF 46, 72, and so forth. Another distinction, which can be thought-about a draw back for the Australian bunch, is that manufacturers solely have to incorporate the chances of energetic substances on their SPF labels—not the opposite “inactive” substances within the formulation. “This can be annoying if you’re sensitive to a particular ingredient in the base,” she provides.

The Verdict

All of this to say, there are key variations within the two international locations’ requirements, however the consensus appears to be that one will not be essentially higher or simpler than the opposite. “I don’t think they are better than what we have here, but I believe that the Australian measures on being sun smart have had an important impact on lowering the rates of skin cancer, especially melanoma,” says New York dermatologist Doris Day, MD.

Why the U.S. Needs to Catch Up

“Australian schools have increased the amount of shaded areas for children to play in, they have changed the recess and play time to earlier or later in the day, and they have mandated the use of hats and sunscreen use when outdoors,” says Dr. Day. “In America, many schools not only don’t do this, and they require a doctor’s note for sunscreen application at school or camp because sunscreen ingredients are considered and regulated as drugs in the U.S. Organizations such as The American Skin Association, The Skin Cancer Foundation and The American Academy of Dermatology are working hard to get the message out, but it’s a challenge to work against the tanning industry and some influencers who scare people about the safety of sunscreen ingredients, and to help young people understand that damage from UV rays starts at a young age and can take years to show.”

Lach Hall, cofounder of Vacation by Poolside FM, can also be an Aussie, and remembers having the rule of carrying sunscreen being drilled into him from a younger age. “From the government side, they had enormous advertising campaigns running all summer— the most famous and long-lasting being the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign, which educated kids to slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen and slap on a hat before heading outside.” Dr. Longwill recollects this marketing campaign as effectively: “In Australia they are taking care of their citizens, requiring them to apply sunscreen at an early age. They are trying to keep the children aware that the accumulation of sun damage causes skin damage and skin cancer. Protecting children at an early age will prevent future damage and future skin cancer from developing. I am sure there are many other sun policies Australia has implemented that that I am unaware of, but we should be implementing in the U.S.”

Hall additionally remembers the “no hat, no play policy” he had in school, the place you weren’t allowed exterior except you had a hat on. “You’d be sent back indoors or punished if you were spotted outside without one,” he says. “I also remember every classroom in my elementary school having big pumps of sunscreen at the door where the teacher would encourage and help kids apply sunscreen before heading out.” Could you think about if we carried out such guidelines right here within the States? And on the seashore, Hall says “lifeguards would set the example with protective clothing and walk around with sunscreen to give to people. There was always free sunscreen at the lifeguard tower. I guess in general, through these efforts the culture around wearing sunscreen in Australia shifted in popular culture (e.g. on TV) and in conversations, to the point where if you don’t wear sunscreen, it’s considered somewhat taboo.”

One Aussie sunscreen model making waves within the U.S. is Blue Lizard, which Santa Monica, CA dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD loves. “I am a huge fan of many Australian sunscreens, especially Blue Lizard,” she says. “The bottles and caps change color from white or clear to blue if there is ultraviolet light. What I discovered from this line was that sitting under a canvas umbrella was not adequate. I’m also a big fan of using SPF clothing and hats.” Bondi Sands, identified for its self-tanning merchandise, additionally simply launched a brand new vary of 5 sunscreens for face and physique that the model says “have passed Australia’s rigorous testing and safety regulations, ensuring that each one offers the highest level of sun protection possible.”

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