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Commerce Commission Findings a warning to all

Commerce Commission Findings a warning to all New Zealanders

The Health Sponsorship Council (HSC) says the findings of the Commerce Commission that a number of sunscreen products do not measure up to manufacturers' claims are a timely warning for everyone about effective sun protection.

HSC SunSmart Manager Wayde Beckman says the way some of these products are promoted as the 'one application be-all and end-all' of sun protection is a real concern that could lead to melanoma-causing sunburn.

"The truth is that we rely way too heavily on sunscreen, and many of us are actually pretty bad at putting it on in the first place. We use it too sparingly and neglect to re-apply it often enough, so it's quite worrying to hear messages that you can put sunscreen on just once and then be out in the blazing sun all day without getting sunburnt. That's really inappropriate for New Zealand where clear skies and low ozone levels have led to a higher melanoma rate than anywhere else in the world.

"It also diminishes the importance of multiple sun protection behaviours such as wearing protective clothes, hats and sunglasses, and staying in the shade where possible during the peak UV hours of 11am – 4pm."

Mr Beckman says New Zealanders love the sun, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying it with care. However, too many of us have a 'she'll be right' attitude that we may come to regret later on when we face skin cancer surgery or even death.

"It's especially important that we don't pass these attitudes and behaviours on to our kids. One or two instances of sunburn in childhood can massively increase the likelihood of melanoma in later years, and that's just too great a price to pay."

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He says a new SunSmart campaign, Never let your child get sunburnt, will launch on Boxing Day focusing on the importance of parents and caregivers taking a pro-active role in making sure their children are well-protected from the sun.

"Like most New Zealanders, I'm looking forward to a great, warm summer, and the warning from the Commerce Commission's findings could not have come at a better time; just when most of us are heading into the holiday period.

"Let's enjoy it, by all means, but without the pain of sunburn or increasing our risk of skin cancer."


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