Closing the gap between industry and consumers in sunscreen application

Main Article Content

David Jung
Aryan Riahi



While sunlight is physiologically important for Vitamin D3 production, excess sun exposure is linked to sunburns and skin cancers. Sun-protective behaviours are thus warranted year-round, with sunscreens playing a critical role in protecting the skin from ultraviolet radiation. The current method of quantifying the extent of protection offered by sunscreens relies on sun protection factor (SPF). Manufacturers assume evenly spread sunscreen with an application thickness of 2mg/cm2 when determining SPF values for their products. These are unfortunately not held in real-life, with consumers applying significantly less quantities of sunscreen. Such discrepancy between industry and consumers could lead to a false sense of security, and ultimately decreased skin health of the public. By bridging the gap through both consumer- and industry-directed approaches, the morbidity, mortality, and healthcare expenditures associated with excess sunlight exposure could be reduced. Specifically, consumers should be recommended to apply sunscreens with higher SPF values. Public health initiatives could also target to increase the general awareness in the inadequacy of practical sunscreen application trends of consumers. Industries could gradually alter their testing standards to preserve reproducibility while becoming closer to practical settings.