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Figures showed 78 per cent of participants who were under the shade of a beach umbrella developed sunburn, compared with only 25 per cent of those who used SPF100 sunscreen.
“I don’t know anybody who lies under an umbrella for three hours without going for a swim or a bit of cricket on our great Kiwi beaches,” he said.
“With over 90 per cent of all skin cancer cases in New Zealand attributed to excess sun exposure, we encourage all Kiwis to ‘slip, slop, slap and wrap’.
“There were 489 skin cancer deaths in 2013, more than the road toll each year, so it’s something we should take seriously.”
The study demonstrated that neither method used alone completely prevented sunburn, although SPF100 sunscreen was more effective in the randomised clinical trial.
SPF, or sun protection factor, is a ranking system that shows how much protection is being offered against UV rays.
The American study used only sunscreen that was SPF100, but the Cancer Society has said in the past that the difference between that and SPF30 is only a few percentage points.
“SPF30+ sunscreen is sufficient for sun protection if applied correctly,” Nahu said. “Higher SPF sunscreens are available. However, they still need to be correctly applied and reapplied regularly.”
New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma in the world, with about 69,000 people getting skin cancer every year. Yet a recent local survey shows fewer than 4 per cent of Kiwis have the recommended annual skin checkups.
HOW TO BE SUNSMART
* Slip on a long-sleeved, collared shirt and into the shade, like under a tree
* Slop on sunscreen that is at least SPF30+, UVA/UVB broad-spectrum and water resistant
* Slap on a broad-brimmed hat that shades your face, head, neck and ears
* Wrap on close fitting sunglasses
* Don’t use sunbeds
WHEN TO BE SUNSMART
* When the ultraviolet index (UVI) is 3 or above
* From September to April, especially between 10am and 4 pm
* At the beach, as reflections from water and sand can increase UV
* At high altitudes, especially near snow, which strongly reflects UV
Last Updated 19:06, January 20 2017