Find all the answers to common questions about SunSense and sun safety.

SunSense sunscreens do not and have never contained the preservative ingredient methylisothiazolinone (MI).

Increasing the SPF of sunscreens from SPF 30+ to 50+ does not mean that sunscreens will become thicker. A good sunscreen formulation, like SunSense, should be able to deliver the extra protection without making the sunscreen unpleasant to wear. If you’re not comfortable with your sunscreen, you just haven’t found the right one yet.

SunSense has also taken this opportunity to re-formulate with the introduction of special ingredients such as Nicotinamide (Vitamin B3) and Vitamin E across a range of the different products. Nicotinamide, which is now in all SunSense sunscreens (excluding SunSense Lip Balm 15g) is well recognised by dermatologists and has many benefits for the skin topically, including assisting maintaining normal skin function and improving the appearance of skin tone and texture. To our facial sunscreens we have added Vitamin E, which is an antioxidant beneficial in protecting from UV skin damage such as wrinkling and age spots.

Please be assured that our SunSense sunscreen products are not tested on animals. All products undergo safety and efficacy testing using in vitro methods and human volunteers.

No matter what the SPF is, you should reapply sunscreen every two hours. This is because sweating, swimming, rubbing of clothes, towelling dry, exercise and touching our skin will all remove sunscreen. If we don’t reapply we can end up with unprotected areas, and get burnt.

The most relevant way to compare SPFs in sunscreens is to evaluate the amount of UV light that is still getting to the skin, rather than the amount of UV light that is being blocked by the sunscreen. SunSense is an advocate of this analysis as it is the cumulative dose of UV getting to our skin over our life-time that will contribute to our skin cancer risk.

Using this method of comparison, an SPF 50+ sunscreen reduces the amount of sunburning UV light reaching the skin by about 50 % compared to an SPF 30+ sunscreen. An SPF 30 allows 3.33% of the UV light that causes sunburn to get through the sunscreen film, whereas an SPF 50+ only allows 1.67% to get through, if used correctly. This reduction from 3.33% to 1.67% is approximately 50%.

*SPF 50+ is defined as SPF 60 as per AS/NZS 2604:2012

The SPF of a sunscreen is derived by taking the time it takes you to burn with a sunscreen and dividing it by the time taken for you to burn without a sunscreen. For example if you burn in 300 minutes with a sunscreen and 10 minutes without a sunscreen, this is 300/10 = 30. So the sunscreen will have an SPF of 30.

If you put it on correctly and reapply as recommended, an SPF 50 sunscreen will offer 50 times your natural protection. An SPF of 50+ will reduce the damaging UV rays getting to your skin by about 50% when compared with to an SPF 30+* if used correctly. Reducing the UV light getting to our skin by 50% means that we are reducing our risk of getting sun burnt or precancerous skin changes. It’s a great move for Australia given our harsh UV conditions.

*SPF 30+ is defined as SPF 31, and SPF 50+ is defined as 60.1 as per AS/NZS 2604: 1998 & 2012

Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes. Two in every three Australians will develop some form of skin cancer by the age of 70, which is why sun protection is so critical to the health of Australians. Melanoma is the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 and skin cancers account for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year*. Protection is necessary even on cloudy days, since up to 80% of the UV rays can penetrate light cloud cover** – it’s often the hidden UV damage that we can’t see that causes the issues as we age.


**World Health Organization. Global Solar UV Index A Practical Guide [online]. 2002 [cited 22 Jan 2014].

Available from URL: https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9241590076

  1. Apply SunSense sunscreen at least 20 minutes before going outdoors.
  2. Apply more than 1/2 teaspoon (3mL) of sunscreen to each arm, face and neck including the ears*.
  3. Apply more than 1 teaspoon (6mL) of sunscreen to each leg, front & back of body*.
  4. Apply sunscreen evenly. Use mirror when applying sunscreen to face.
  5. Be careful not to miss any exposed areas.
  6. Avoid prolonged sun exposure. Do not stay too long in the sun, even while using a sunscreen product.
  7. Cover up with clothing, hats and eye wear to further reduce risk and carefully protect children and babies from direct sun.
  8. Reapply SunSense sunscreen every 2 hours and especially after swimming, exercising, perspiration and towelling dry.
  9. Use sunscreen generously and reapply frequently.

*SUNSMART. Sunscreen [online] 2011 [cited 19 September 2011].

Limit your time in the sun, particularly between 10am and 3pm when the sun’s rays are the most harmful

Apply a broad spectrum SPF50 or 50+ sunscreen to all exposed areas of the skin at least 20 minutes before heading outside, wear a hat and other protective clothing for extra protection and remember to seek shade.

Reapply sunscreen every two hours even if you’re in the shade and especially after exercise, swimming and towelling yourself dry.

Sun protection is necessary even on cloudy days, since up to 80% of the UV radiation can penetrate light cloud cover*.

Examine your skin regularly for any unusual changes or growths as skin cancer is easily treatable in the early stages. Any concerns, consult a doctor. It is recommended that everyone has regular skin check-ups even if they consider themselves ‘low risk’.

*World Health Organization. Ultraviolet radiation: global solar UV index [online]. 2009 [cited 21 July 2011]. Available from URL: http://www.who.int/uv/resources/archives/fs271/en/

Sunlight is composed of several different types of radiation, including Ultra Violet (UV) radiation. UV radiation, comprising UVA, UVB & UVC types, is considered dangerous as it cannot be detected by our skin.

UVA rays are constantly present during the day, no matter the season or the weather and they are able to penetrate glass. UVA rays are mostly responsible for the signs of premature ageing because they are able to penetrate deeper into the surface of the skin. UVA radiation causes premature ageing and contributes to skin cancer**. When you think of UVA rays, think sunspots, leathery skin and wrinkles.

UVB radiation is responsible for photoageing*, sunburn, skin cancer and eye damage**. UVB rays are the rays you can blame when you get sunburnt. Unlike UVA rays, these rays aren’t always the same strength year round – they’re more prevalent in the summer months, however they are able to reflect off water or snow, so it’s always important to protect yourself year-round. When you think of UVB rays, think sunburn and cancer.

All SunSense sunscreens offer protection from both UVA and UVB radiation.

*Opinion on Biological effects of ultraviolet radiation relevant to health with particular reference to sunbeds for cosmetic purposes. Scientific Committee on Consumer Products (European Commission). June 2006.

SCCP/0949/05. p16. Available from URL: http://ec.europa.eu/health/ph_risk/committees/04_sccp/docs/sccp_o_031b.pdf

Any cancer that’s not picked up quickly can become a serious health risk. Generally, melanoma is considered the most serious as it can become life threatening and often without much apparent change in skin or mole appearance. Melanoma is one of the most common cancers affecting youth in Australia*. We should all check our skin regularly and consult a doctor if concerned. Also consider having regular checks at skin cancer/sunspot clinics.

*Department of Health and Ageing. Key Statistics [online]. 2011 [cited 21 September 2011]. 

Non melanoma skin cancer is not reportable in Australia, so we have no good data on the growth or decline of this form of skin cancer. In regards to melanoma however, the incident rate has doubled in the last 20 years from 1986 to 2006*.

*Melanoma Institute Australia. Melanoma Facts and Statistics [Online] 2012 [cited 22 Jan 2014]. Available from: http://www.melanoma.org.au

This year, it is expected that 16,800 Australians will be diagnosed with melanoma and tragically 1300 Australians will die from melanoma in 2022. 95% of melanomas are caused by overexposure to UV radiation from the sun which is why being sun safe all year round is so important.*

*Australian Government Australian Institute of Health & Welfare [internet] 2022 [cited 28 June 2022]. Available from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/australias-health/cancer

Very important. Protection is necessary even on cloudy days, since up to 80% of the UV rays can penetrate light cloud cover*. If you can include a daily facial sunscreen into your beauty regime this is a great start. For example, it pays to use sunscreen on the back of your hands and even your driving arm if you spend more than 20 minutes on the road each day. This daily regime is also recommended for any children in your family.

*World Health Organization. Ultraviolet radiation: global solar UV index [online]. 2009 [cited 21 July 2011]. Available from URL: http://www.who.int/uv/resources/archives/fs271/en/

SunSense Subscription Form Experience Fragment