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TAFE NSW students put sunscreen to the test this summer

TAFE NSW Granville

TAFE NSW students put sunscreen to the test this summer

Australia has always been dubbed the “Sunburnt Country” and with thousands of Australians embracing the warmer weather during the holiday period, it begs the question: How effective is the sunscreen we are using?

Students studying the Diploma of Laboratory Technology (Chemistry) at TAFE NSW Granville have used a UV-vis spectrometer to test the same sample size of various sunscreen brands Beach Defence, Sport, Ombra and Everyday.

While the TAFE NSW results showed that all sunscreens tested absorbed UV at different rates, all were able to effectively absorb both UVB and UVC rays reliably with a maximum absorption ranging between 0.38 and 1.15 on the UV-vis spectrometer.

TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Chemical Technology, Freba Olime, said, “The sun emits three types of ultra violet (UV) radiation and among them both UVA and UVB rays are able to penetrate the ozone layer and reach the earth’s surface, making them harmful to humans.

“About 90 percent of all skin cancers are associated with exposure to the sun’s UV radiation and sunscreen is one of the key strategies that help reduce exposure to the harmful rays.”[1]

In Australia alone at least 400,000 people are treated for skin cancer each year.[2] Ms Olime gave the below top tips for helping protect your skin from harsh UV rays.

  • Use sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30+ and apply liberally at least every two hours. Keep in mind that increased sun protection may be necessary if there are higher UV levels.
  • Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before exposure to UV.
  • When UV levels are at their highest, the most effective protection is to seek shade.

To enrol or enquire about the chemical technology courses on offer at TAFE NSW, visit or call 131 601.

Media contact: Jessica Cortis, Media and Communications Business Partner, 0456 170 211.