Sunscreen Effectiveness

The effectiveness of sunscreens is pertinent to the role of UV in urban areas because sunscreens provide an alternative to seeking shade. Sunscreens can clearly provide a high degree of protection against sunburn, dependent on the effectiveness number or sun protection factor (SPF). However, some studies have found a high incidence of sunburn even when there is a high rate of sunscreen use (Davis et al., 2002). There is uncertainty as to whether sunscreens that prevent sunburn can also prevent immunosuppression effects and tumors (Garland et al., 1992; International Agency for Research on Cancer, 1992; Gorman, 1993; Garland et al., 1994; Bestak and Halliday, 1996). Given the uncertainty about sunscreen effectiveness, there is a general concern that those who rely too heavily on sunscreen protection abandon other protective measures (Wright, 1994). Other possible measures of protection could include seeking shade at mid-day and wearing protective clothing.

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