SLAPPING on a new maximum-level sunscreen is not going to provide people with a "suit of armour'' from the sun, according to experts.
In the biggest change to sunscreen in more than a decade, creams with a sun protection factor of 50+ are set to hit Australian shelves over the next few months.
But sun specialists warn the new SPF50+ products could be deceiving, offering little more protection than the 30+ standard.
The change means sunscreens with the new higher rating will filter out 98 per cent of the sun, compared to 96.7 per cent for SPF30+.
A sun protection factor of 50 means the product can protect a person 50 times more against burning than unprotected skin.
Australian standards were revised in June, in line with international standards.
Sunscreens with factors higher than 50+ are available in Europe, the US and New Zealand.
Australian standards have not been changed since SPF30+ was approved for sale in the late 1990s.
Cancer Council Queensland's executive manager of public health Louise Baldwin said they recommended sunscreens that were broad spectrum SPF30 or above.
"SPF50+ sunscreens offer marginally better UVB protection compared with SPF30+," Ms Baldwin said.
"SPF50+ does not mean you have a 'suit of armour' - you need to apply just as liberally as SPF30+.
"All sunscreens rub-off through towelling, perspiration and need to be re-applied frequently, every two hours."
Ms Baldwin said sunscreen was not sufficient enough protection, with clothing, hates, sunglasses and shade just as important.
"No one should be concerned there is anything wrong with their SPF30+ sunscreen," Ms Baldwin said.
"So if you have sunscreen in your beach bag, the cricket kit or the medicine chest, it remains good quality sun protection.
"SPF50+ is simply a little better."
Local mum Sarah Cosgrove said she always looks for the most protective product for two-year-old son Jaxon.
"I always get the one they can swim with that doesn't come off and I figure you may as well get the most protection," Mrs Cosgrove said.
"I'd probably go for the 50+ now because I've heard my mum friends talking about it."
Banana Boat anticipates its SPF50+ products will be available everywhere by the end of this month.
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