The Dutch government has announced that they will provide free sun protection to all citizens this summer, in a bid to combat the rising rate of skin cancer. This initiative, inspired by Australia's "slip-slop-slap" campaign, will involve the installation of sunscreen dispensers in schools, universities, festivals, parks, and sports venues, as well as in open public spaces. The government hopes that this campaign will make the act of applying sunscreen an accepted part of daily life for all citizens and it will not be hindered by cost or inconvenience.
According to a public broadcaster, NOS, a dermatologist from a clinic suggested that the dispensers used during the pandemic for sanitizers could be adapted to dispense sunscreen and that children should be encouraged to apply sunscreen from a young age in order to make it a habit.
"Although it is expensive, we place a great value on people's health. We frequently observe people enjoying the sun without taking precautions, and given that Katwijk receives more sun than the typical town, this is not healthy,'' said Jacco Knape of Katwijk, a beach town, as cited by The Guardian.
Skin cancer has been on the rise in Europe over the past 20 years, and it's only getting worse. Temperatures in central Europe hit an all-time high over the weekend, and they're expected to stay high for the next few weeks.
Skin cancer is caused by exposure to the sun's ultraviolet radiation, which causes changes in the body's cell structure, resulting in abnormal replication of the cells. The first and most common sign of skin cancer is a change in the color of a specific area of the skin. That's why sunscreen should not be seen as a cosmetic product but as an essential part of protecting your skin.
Problems associated with the Netherlands initiative:
The dispensers at hand sanitizer units will contain sunscreen, but storing sunscreen in this way is not ideal.
The Cancer Council recommends storing sunscreen in a cool and dry place away from direct sunlight and below a temperature of 30 degrees. This helps preserve the active ingredients that help protect your skin from the sun's rays.
Depending on the formula, many temperature variations can destabilize the sunscreen. For example, if it's a moisturizer, demulsification isn't ideal, but it's also not particularly dangerous.
However, when sunscreen separates, it reduces your level of protection, which can lead to burns and an increased risk of skin cancer, according to pharmaceutical scientist and author Hannah Collingwood-English.
Although English supports the concept, she hopes that the Dutch Government has taken into account the stability of the formulations they are offering, which will be challenging as they will be mainly used in outdoor settings.
According to the manufacturer, sunscreens are tested in their packaging for stability at room temperature as well as at a higher temperature of 45 degrees. The results will influence the recommended expiration date for the product.
(Input from various media sources)