Judie Snowden Wednesday 01 February 2017, 3:48PM
With summer in full swing, pharmacies should be doing
good business selling sunscreen and sunglasses.
Summer is the busiest time of the year for many
coastal pharmacies, especially if they get cruise ship passengers
These pharmacies are the one-stop shop for sunscreen
and after-sun care and advice. Ensuring your staff know how to deal
with customer sunscreen demands is key for the sunny season.
Figuring out what sun protection factor (SPF)
customers require is an important factor
to consider when selling sunscreen, says Anas Wadood, owner of
Unichem Coromandel Pharmacy, situated in the popular coastal
Mr Wadood says his team recommends
SPF50 to their customers most of the time, but it's important to
find out how long the customer will be in the sun for.
"We give them education on the recommended sunscreen,
we recommend SPF50 so European tourists understand the importance
of using a high SPF.
"The sun protection advice we give is slip, slop,
slap and wrap. That's general advice when recommending sunscreen,"
says Mr Wadood.
Broad spectrum sunscreen filters out both UV (ultra
violet) rays, UVA (ageing rays) and UVB (burning rays), instead of
just one or the other. The SPF rating is how long the sunscreen
will protect you from the sun against UVB. If it takes roughly 10
minutes for someone to get sunburnt, and they use an SPF15
sunscreen, protection would last around 150 minutes.
Louise Reiche, dermatologist at Kauri Healthcare in
Palmerston North, says broad spectrum SPF50+ is the recommended
sunscreen for the New Zealand sun.
Using sunscreen doesn't mean you can stay out in the
sun all day, it provides some protection for when you are in the
sun, says Dr Reiche.
"The public under-appreciates sunscreen it is not
armour, it's a filter," she says.
An SPF15 sunscreen provides 94% protection against
UVB, SPF30 provides 97% and SPF50 provides 98% protection.
It's important to apply enough sunscreen so that it
provides full protection, says Fiona Mawley, manager of Daffodil
Enterprises Limited at the Cancer Society of New Zealand.
The society recommends applying half a teaspoon of
sunscreen to each arm and your face, and one teaspoon to each leg,
the front of your body and your back. In total, 35ml of sunscreen
should be used in each application.
"In reality, most people apply their sunscreen at
about one-third the thickness used for testing. They fail to apply
it to all exposed areas of skin, and they forget to reapply it
every couple of hours or after heavy sweating or swimming," says Ms
After applying sunscreen, Ms Mawley advises to wait
15-20 minutes before going in the sun, so that the sunscreen has
time to create a barrier to protect the skin.
New Zealand has the highest rate of melanoma skin
cancer per capita in the world, according to the Ministry of
Health. Melanoma skin cancer isn't as common as other skin cancers,
but it is one of the most serious. UV radiation from the sun is one
of the main causes of melanoma.
Buying sunscreen and leaving it in the glovebox is
pointless because it's not going to protect you, says Grant Lawrie,
managing director at Skin Alive.
"Reinforce the application side of it. They need to
put it on regularly, and they need to actually put it on," says Mr
Re-applying sunscreen every three to four hours is
important if they're in the sun for more than two hours, he
Swimming, towel drying or exercising can cause
sunblock to rub off, so sunscreen needs to be re-applied for
continued protection. Some sunscreens are water-resistant, to
provide protection for swimming and exercising.
Sunscreen comes in many forms, including lotion,
cream, milk and gel. It comes in tubes, bottles, sprays and pumps
for the convenience and preference of the customer.
"Guide customers towards products that comply with
the right standards and are UVA/UVB broad spectrum. All other
preferences are personal and will be down to scent, feel and
application," says Ms Mawley.
If a customer chooses to buy a spray-on sunscreen, Dr
Reiche says it's important to apply two coats to get through hair
and ensure all exposed skin is covered in sunscreen.
Tourists return to the pharmacy for sunburn advice
when they don't buy a good SPF sunscreen, says Mr Wadood.
If the sunburn isn't severe enough to see a doctor,
Mr Wadood recommends using an after sun or aloe vera gel. He says
paracetamol is helpful if people are experiencing pain.
Dr Reiche agrees that using pain killers such as
aspirin are good for when the skin is inflamed and
She says they will help with the inflamed skin but
won't help undo the damage caused by
She recommends keeping the skin cool by having a cold
bath or shower and, when the sunburn gets to the dry peeling stage,
use an emollient.
If customers understand how important sunscreen is in
regions like the Coromandel, they can enjoy the sun safely, says