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All Cancer Council branded products comply with Australian standards and our SunSmart guidelines for sun protection. See below for frequently asked questions, or contact our team on 1300 354 144 (Mon-Fri, 9am – 5pm) or email


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Cancer Council Shop delivers Australia-wide, we currently do not ship internationally.

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Alternatively, you can email us at and our retail team will contact you within 1-2 business days.



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Sunscreen ingredients work in two ways: scattering and/or
absorbing ultraviolet (UV) radiation to help stop it from reaching the skin.

Some sunscreens utilise both absorbing and scattering ingredients. Examples of scattering Ingredients include Zinc Oxide and Titanium Oxide. UV absorbers use ingredients such as Oxybenzone, Octocrylene, 4-Methylbenzylidene camphor and Butyl methoxy dibenzoylmethane.

SPF stands for Sun Protection Factor. SPF relates to the amount of time it takes for redness to appear on the skin compared to when no product is used at all. The test is done in a laboratory.

It is essentially the measure of how much UV gets through the screen. The higher the number, the less UV passes through. An SPF of 30 allows one-thirtieth or 3.3% of UV to reach your skin. This means it filters 96.7% of UV. With an SPF of 50, 98% is filtered and one-fiftieth or 2% gets through.

However, it is hard to achieve this level of protection in real life – factors such as skin type, ultraviolet (UV) levels, swimming/drying and how much sunscreen you apply can affect the level of protection. That's why we always recommend applying liberally every two hours or after swimming, sweating or towel drying. It is also important to apply 20 minutes before being exposed to UV.

To maximise the protective benefit of sunscreen, apply as directed (see below) and always use in conjunction with other sun protection measures such as protective clothing, hats, sunglasses and shade.

Broad spectrum sunscreens offer protection from both UVA and UVB rays, the two types of harmful UV radiation emitted by the sun.

UVB is the principal cause of sunburn, but both UVA
and UVB contribute to increased skin cancer risk.

Sunscreen should be applied 20 minutes before exposure to UV in order to create the intended protective barrier. It should be applied liberally and evenly to clean and dry skin.

For an adult, the recommended application is 5mL (approximately one teaspoon) for each arm, leg, body front, body back and face (including neck and ears). That equates to a total of 35mL (approximately seven teaspoons) for a full body application.

Sunscreen should always be reapplied at least every two hours, irrespective of the water resistance of the sunscreen. Swimming, sport, sweating and towel drying can reduce the effectiveness of the product, so sunscreen should always be reapplied after these activities.

Sunscreen should never be used as the only line of defence against sun damage. It is also important to remember that sunburn is caused by UV radiation, which is not related to temperature. Whenever the UV is 3 or above, be sure to:
Slip on some sun-protective clothing that covers as much skin as possible. This offers the best protection.
Slop on broad spectrum, water resistant SPF30 (or higher) sunscreen.
Slap on a hat – broad brim or legionnaire style to protect your face, head, neck and ears.
Seek shade.
Slide on sunglasses – make sure they meet Australian Standards.

The widespread use of sunscreen on babies under the age of six months in not generally recommended as they have very sensitive skin which may be more likely to suffer a reaction.

Cancer Council recommends keeping babies under 12 months away from direct sunlight as much as possible when UV levels are 3 or above, as their skin is more sensitive than adults'. Plan daily activities to ensure the baby is well protected from the sun and aim to minimise time outside during the middle of the day during the summer period when UV levels are at their strongest.

When this is not possible, ensure that babies are protected from the sun by shade, protective clothing and a hat. Check the baby's clothing, hat and shade positioning regularly to ensure he/she continues to be well protected from UV.

Some parents may choose to use sunscreen occasionally on small parts of their baby's skin. If that is the case, parents should be careful to choose a sunscreen that is suitable for babies. You may wish to seek the advice of a doctor or pharmacist.

If your baby does suffer a reaction to a sunscreen, stop using the product and seek medical attention.

The manufacture of sunscreens is strictly regulated by the Australian Government's Therapeutic Goods Administration. The TGA's sunscreen regulations are among the strictest in the world. All batches of sunscreen are thoroughly tested to ensure that:
• they are safe
• the TGA-approved formula is adhered to
• the SPF claims on the bottle are exceeded, and
• that the quantity of approved active ingredients is present before they are released to the public.

Cancer Council Australia research published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health in 2015 showed that in 2010, Australians prevented more than 1,700 cases of melanoma and 14,000 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer thanks to regular sunscreen use over the previous decade. So we know sunscreen saves lives when used correctly. But it is only one of five important measures for reducing the risk of skin cancer, along with seeking shade, slipping on protective clothing and a broad-brim hat and sliding on sunglasses.

These are the ingredients used to absorb and/or reflect the harmful UVA and UVB rays generated by the sun. Some are better at absorbing UVA (eg Butyl Methoxydibenzoylmethane/‘Parsol’, zinc oxide), while others are better at absorbing UVB (eg Octyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium Dioxide) and some do both (eg Tinasorb). Most sunscreens use mixtures of UVA and UVB absorbers to optimise their sun protection properties. All sunscreen ingredients used in Australia are approved by the Therapeutic Goods Association.

These are ingredients that are necessary to preserve the integrity of the sunscreen cream/lotion. Besides the active ingredients, sunscreens contain moisturisers, water, oils, emulsifiers and various other ingredients which help to maintain the cream emulsion and make the sunscreen pleasant and easy to apply. Without preservatives the sunscreen cream/lotion would support the growth of bacteria which could ‘spoil’ the cream/lotion and/or cause skin infections if they were to contaminate the sunscreen.

There are many sunscreen ingredients available that filter and/or reflect harmful UVA and UVB light generated by the sun. Some chemicals and ingredients absorb harmful rays, some reflect them and some do both. Most sunscreens contain a blend of such chemicals to optimise the SPF 30 rating (or higher). There are other characteristics such as water resistancy, ease of application, non-greasy, non-irritating, non-whitening, etc that require special formulations with different ingredients, sunscreen actives and preservatives.

Yes. Using expired sunscreen is not recommended. Sunscreen testing is carried out to ensure the efficacy of sunscreen over a 3-year shelf life. If a sunscreen is past its used-by-date it should be disposed of safely and a new sunscreen purchased. Emulsifiers are commonly used in sunscreens to combine water-based and oil-based ingredients to ensure they are applied smoothly and evenly across the skin. Past its expiry, the oil and water ingredients within the sunscreen may start to separate, affecting the distribution of active ingredients across the skin and overall protection from UV radiation.

Bottles/pump packs: Printed on the base of the bottle
Tubes: Printed in the crimp at the top of the tube
Eziclip: Printed on the flip-top cap
Roll-on: Printed on the bottom of the bottle or on the white part of the label .
If you cannot see an expiry date, you should not use the sunscreen, and contact Customer Service.

Sunscreens in Australia are safe to use. All sunscreen ingredients in Australia are approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration). The TGA regularly reviews the evidence and ensures that sunscreen ingredients are safe, effective, and low risk. Research also shows that sunscreen is effective in preventing skin cancer, including the most deadly type - melanoma. It is recommended that a patch test is undertaken before first use, particularly for those with sensitive skin.


All Cancer Council sunglasses are fitted with category 3 polarised lenses. Category 3 lenses provide high protection against sunglare and good UV protection, in accordance with the Australian Standard AS/NZS 1067.2016.

All Cancer Council eyewear is independently tested by accredited laboratories such as ORLAB to ensure that the highest quality UV protection is offered to our customers. Sunglasses and a broad-brimmed hat worn together can reduce UV radiation exposure to the eyes by up to 98 per cent.


A broad-brimmed, legionnaire or bucket style hat provides good protection for the face, nose, neck and ears, which are common sites for skin cancers. Caps and visors do not provide enough protection. Choose a hat made with closely woven fabric – if you can see through it, UV radiation will get through. Hats may not protect you from reflected UV radiation, so also wear sunglasses and sunscreen, long sleeve clothing, sunscreen and shade, where possible.

All sun protective hats sold by Cancer Council have been independently tested and have the maximum rating of UPF50+.


The UPF rating indicates how well the material blocks ultraviolet radiation from the sun, also known as solar ultraviolet radiation (UVR). The higher the UPF rating, the more solar UVR gets blocked by the material and the less exposure to solar UVR you will receive. The 2020 edition of the Australian standard for sun protective clothing has three UPF classifications depending on the amount of solar UVR blocked. Each UPF classification has corresponding UPF ratings:

View the UPF classifications here.

All Cancer Council protective clothing and hats are tested and rated UPF50+ excellent protection.

Choose clothing that:
• Covers as much skin as possible e.g. shirts with long sleeves and high necks/collars.
• Is made from close weave materials such as cotton, polyester/cotton and linen.
• If used for swimming, is made from materials such as lycra, which stays sun protective when wet.
All Cancer Council clothing features Ultraviolet Protection Factor rating of UPF50+ and are made from durable, quick-drying fabrics.

• Rinse immediately after use.
• Do not leave wrapped wet in towel.
• Line dry in shade without delay.
• Please refer to label on garment for further care and washing instructions.

Sunscreen may stain clothing and swimwear. Orange-brown stains are common in areas containing hard water (high iron content in water) or households containing iron piping. To remove stains, we recommend using a laundry detergent that is designed to cut through oils and grease. A mild Citric Acid solution can also be used.