‘Oily consistency and fear of chemicals’: Why seven-out-of-10 Dawinites could be shunning sunscreen

By Gary Scattergood contact

- Last updated on GMT

The researchers also found that people with a history of skin cancer were less likely to use sunscreen. ©GettyImages
The researchers also found that people with a history of skin cancer were less likely to use sunscreen. ©GettyImages
Sunscreen use among residents in Australia’s Northern Territory appears to be on the rise, but a recent study found that 69% of those surveyed still failed to slip-slop-slap.

Furthermore, fewer than one-in-10 failed to apply sunscreen on all sun-exposed skin, with factors such as oily consistency, fear of chemicals, minimal sun exposure expected, dark skin type and not part of daily routine cited as reasons for not using.

Overall, the study of people attending Darwin Market found that around 31% were wearing sunscreen, a 14% increase on the figures from 20 years ago. 

Strangely, the researchers also found that people with a history of skin cancer were less likely to use sunscreen.

“Twentyseven attendees reported having a previous history of skin cancer; 22% of these had used sunscreen on the day of interview, compared to 33% of those with no history of skin cancer,” they​ wrote.

“There was no association between prior skin cancer history and sunscreen use (p=0.27) or shade seeking (p=0.56). In this study, higher rates of skin cancers were seen among those with type II skin (27%) followed by type III (20%) and type I (8%). There was no difference in sunscreen use or shade seeking between skin types.”

Start young

They added that recent policy measures directed at scholls, could see sunscreen use increase in the territory in the coming years.

“In April 2016, all Northern Territory schools were mandated to implement a Sun Safety policy.In comparison, 71% of all Victorian primary schools were accredited as sun smart schools by December 2000.

“This recent implementation in Darwin may see even further uptake of sun protection practices among residents in the future as children adopt sun safe practices and implement them as adults. The reasons mentioned for lack of sunscreen could be made targets for further health education.”

The research concluded: Our study demonstrated that the use of sunscreen has increased among nonAboriginal market attendees. However, campaigns to address misconceptions regarding sunscreen are required. Unfortunately, longterm residents remain the group requiring most education.”


Source: Australia and New Zealand Journal of Public Health


“A follow‐up of sunscreen use and sun‐protection practices in Darwin: a cross‐sectional survey”

Authors: Joyce H.Y Ma. et al.

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