With its abundance of sunshine, beaches, and nature, Australia is an outdoor lover’s paradise. While spending time in the sun is important for your physical and mental well-being, too much sun exposure without proper protection can be harmful. When it comes to protecting your skin from damaging UVA and UVB rays, nothing is more important than applying sunscreen.
When choosing a sunscreen, it’s crucial to select one that you know will be effective. The Australian Government has some of the strictest regulations in the world when it comes to sunscreen production, labelling, ingredients, and efficacy. When you buy a sunscreen produced in Australia, you can rest assured you’re getting a product that’s been rigorously vetted for its safety and effectiveness. Today, we’re going to explore the standards that make Australian-made sunscreen the optimal choice when it comes to protecting your skin from the sun. Let’s get started!
First of all, why is sunscreen so important?
In Australia, UV levels can remain high even on cool and overcast days, making it important to remain sun-safe throughout the whole year. Sunscreen, which works by scattering and/or absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reduce the amount that reaches the skin, has been shown to be the best method of preventing skin damage and reducing your risk of developing skin cancer.
Every sunscreen is labeled with an SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number, which relates to the amount of time it takes for skin to burn. For example, if it takes ten minutes for unprotected skin to show redness, then skin with an SPF30 sunscreen applied will take 30 times longer (or 300 minutes) to burn.
To maximize the protective benefit of sunscreen, apply it 20 minutes before being exposed, every two hours thereafter, and after swimming, sweating, or towel drying. Whenever possible, use sunscreen in conjunction with other sun protection measures such as seeking shade when UV levels are at their highest and wearing protective clothing, hats, and sunglasses.
How sunscreen is regulated in Australia
In Australia, all therapeutic sunscreens are regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)—a branch of the Australian Government that deals with medicine and therapeutic regulations. All sunscreens that are legally allowed to be sold in Australia can be found in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). You can check to see if your sunscreen is listed by searching the register or checking your sunscreen packaging for an ARTG registration number, which will be displayed in the format “AUST L [number].”
What standards does the TGA adhere to?
What makes Australian-certified sunscreen superior? It all goes back to the strict standards set forth by the TGA.
In November 2012, the TGA increased the maximum SPF from SPF30+ to SPF50+, which blocks out at least 98% of sun-burning rays. SPF50+ sunscreen offers broad-spectrum protection, meaning that it provides both Ultraviolet B (UVB) and Ultraviolet A (UVA) protection. UVB is the major cause of painful, damaging sunburns and an increased risk of skin cancer, while UVA contributes to aging of the skin, as well as higher skin cancer risk.
Additionally, the TGA adheres to the following stringent standards:
- Sunscreens with an SPF rating of 4 and above must be approved and listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
- Sunscreens must be manufactured by a TGA-approved manufacturing facility and can only include TGA-approved ingredients, each of which has been assessed for its safety.
- All therapeutic sunscreens are required to be listed in the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG) before they can legally be marketed and sold in Australia.
- Australia-produced sunscreens must meet the requirements set forth by the Australian/New Zealand Standard (AS/NZS 2604:2012). This standard, by Standards Australia, is separate from the TGA.
- Sunscreen manufacturers cannot use words such as “sunblock,” “waterproof,” and “sweatproof,” as these terms are considered to be potentially misleading. Manufacturers can only claim a maximum of four hours water resistance.
- Sunscreens are not permitted to be labeled “once a day.”
- Sunscreens labeled with a “+” after the SPF number must provide at least the labeled SPF number in testing.
Choosing your sunscreen
When selecting your sunscreen for a day in the sun, consider buying a broad-spectrum sunscreen that is made and certified in Australia. Due to the TGA’s strict guidelines regarding production, labeling, ingredients, and efficacy, you can feel confident that you’ll be better protected while having fun in the sun.
Sundust offers a zero-plastic, environmentally-safe SPF50+ bio-glitter sunscreen that is equal parts effective and fun—for kids and adults alike! The silver and gold bio-glitter in our broad-spectrum sunscreen is made from a special form of cellulose extracted from hardwoods, primarily eucalyptus. It contains zero plastic, fragrance, or parabens and is non-toxic to fish and other aquatic life. Our glittery sunscreen uses only ethically- and sustainably-sourced raw materials and contains no hidden nasties. Don’t forget to bring your tube of Sundust on your next outing in the sunshine!