Theoretically, applying sunscreen with a sun protection factor – SPF – of 100 would allow beachgoers to bare their skin 100 times longer before suffering a sunburn.

But for high-SPF sunscreens, theory and reality are two different things. Many studies have found that people are misled by the claims on high SPF sunscreen bottles.

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according to Cancer Counsil Australia. Over the past decades, the incidence of skin cancer has risen in Australia. From 1982 to 2010 melanoma diagnoses increased by around 60%. From 1998 to 2007, GP consultations to treat non-melanoma skin cancer increased by 14%, to reach 950,000 visits each year.

Non-melanoma skin cancer is the most common type of skin cancer. This type of skin cancer is more common in men, with almost double the incidence compared to women. Over 434,000 people are treated for one or more non-melanoma skin cancers in Australia each year.

Excluding non-melanoma skin cancer, melanoma is the third most common cancer in both Australian women and men, and the most common cancer in Australians aged 15-44 years. In 2010, 11,405 people in Australia were diagnosed with melanoma.

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The adoption of sun smart policies by all national sporting bodies engaged in outdoor activities is one of the key recommendations of a federal committee looking at the best way to protect Australians from skin cancer, the Sunshine Coast Daily reports.

The recommendation is one of 12 put forward by the House of Representatives Health Committee in its report Skin Cancer in Australia – Our National Cancer, which was released on Tuesday.

Two-thirds of Australians will be diagnosed with a skin cancer by the time they turn 70, according to figures released by the Cancer Council Australia.

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