Young Aussies set to repeat sun safety mistakes of the past

The majority of Australians have regrets about their exposure to the sun and concerns about skin cancer – but still continue to ignore health warnings.

sun bathing

Canstar Blue surveyed almost 2,000 adults and found that two-thirds (66%) wish they had been better protected from the sun when they were younger. For Baby Boomers, that number rose to 75%. But despite that regret, 63% admitted they STILL don’t protect themselves as well as they should.

Young Australians seem to be making the same mistakes as their parents and grandparents, we found. While a greater percentage of older Aussies admit to sun safety mistakes in the past, it’s now young people who are most guilty of ignoring the ‘slip, slop, slap’ message and could live to regret it.

Findings                   Overall          Gen Y          Gen X     Boomers
I wish I had been better protected from the sun when I was younger 66% 45% 62% 75%
I should protect myself from the sun better than I currently do 63% 68% 67% 59%
I often sunbathe 15% 23% 18% 10%
I often get sun burnt 22% 34% 30% 13%

Source: Canstar Blue Sunscreen survey 2015.

The failure to learn from our mistakes is particularly surprising given that four out of five adults have concerns about skin cancer. Too many people seem to have fallen into the ‘it won’t happen to me’ trap. It’s shocking that so many Aussies are regularly getting sun burnt – despite all the warnings, and their own concerns.

Findings                    Overall          Gen Y          Gen X     Boomers
I’m concerned about skin cancer 81% 78% 79% 84%
I regularly have mole checks 42% 31% 34% 51%

Source: Canstar Blue Sunscreen survey 2015.

Survey respondents were also asked how often they use sunscreen in summer and winter, with Gen Y the least likely to protect themselves all of the time.

Sunscreen use in summer                    Overall          Gen Y          Gen X     Boomers
All of the time 21% 16% 25% 21%
Most of the time 49% 56% 47% 49%
Only occasionally 26% 24% 26% 27%
Rarely 3% 3% 2% 3%
Never 0% 1% 0% 0%

Source: Canstar Blue Sunscreen survey 2015.

Cancer Council Australia warns that Australians need sun protection whenever the UV index is 3 or above, with those in some parts of the country advised to use sunscreen all year round. But that message is not being followed by everyone. As you would expect, survey respondents in Queensland are most likely to use sun block in winter, but most only do so occasionally or rarely.

Sunscreen use in winter                    Overall          Gen Y          Gen X     Boomers
All of the time 5% 4% 7% 4%
Most of the time 14% 15% 15% 13%
Only occasionally 29% 30% 29% 29%
Rarely 29% 26% 26% 32%
Never 23% 25% 24% 23%

Source: Canstar Blue Sunscreen survey 2015.

Which sunscreen brands do Aussies rate highest?

The Canstar Blue survey saw 13 different sunscreen brands rated by consumers across a range of research categories, with Australian made SunSense the only brand to achieve a five-star rating for overall customer satisfaction.

Alan Oppenheim, Managing Director of Ego Pharmaceuticals – makers of SunSense – says it’s “concerning” that so many Aussies are still failing to protect themselves from the sun as well as they should.

“It’s been known for some time now that UV is the leading cause of skin cancer and now we also know it’s the biggest contributor to premature skin ageing,” he said. “The UV index is high in parts of Australia even throughout winter, so it is very important to maintain our daily sunscreen habits throughout the year.

Girl apply sunscreen mum fun

“We have put over 25 years of research and development in to SunSense to ensure we make sunscreen that Australians will love to wear and we’re very proud to see that reflected with our Canstar Blue award.”

Canstar Blue’s customer satisfaction ratings for sunscreen saw four different brands pick up five-star ratings for effectiveness, but just one scored top marks with regards to value for money. Click here to check out our sunscreen ratings.

Naturally, consumers are most concerned about the effectiveness of sunscreen, but plenty of other factors are also important to us. After effectiveness, texture and consistency was the next biggest driver of customer satisfaction, followed by value for money. As we’ve discovered, some people don’t use it as often as they should, but Aussies know their sunscreen and they know what they like.

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