Sunscreen sold in Australia from today will be able to carry an SPF 50-plus label but cannot claim to be waterproof, sweat-proof or a sunblock.
A new Australian standard means that while manufacturers can continue to sell sunscreen with a sun protection factor of 30, they will have to meet new rules to make their products filter out more ultraviolent rays.
Sunscreens labelled SPF 30+ or higher will have to offer more protection against UVA, the rays that contribute to ageing and wrinkles, while SPF 50+ products will offer better protection against UVB, the rays that cause sunburn and skin cancer. But the higher SPF products are unlikely to hit the shelves until early next year when current stock runs out.
The Cancer Council of WA says people with 30+ products should continue to use them with confidence because they already offer high protection, provided people use enough and reapply them.
Council spokesman Terry Slevin said people should use sunscreens that were broad spectrum with a SPF of 30 or above.
"SPF 50+ sunscreens offer marginally better UVB protection compared with SPF 30+," he said.