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4 reasons why people avoid wearing sunscreen

man on a boat rubbing sunscreen into his face

Research shows why people aren't wearing sunscreen

Something I hear a lot from people is "I don't wear sunscreen" and "I don't like wearing sunscreen". New Zealand has the highest melanoma rate in the world and sunscreen is an important part of protecting yourself against skin cancer. So why are so many people avoiding wearing sunscreen?

In one study done in New Zealand, participants were asked what would get them to wear sunscreen more often (Douglas et al 1997). The top four reasons given were:

  1. If I thought I was at higher risk
  2. Lower cost
  3. More proof that it works
  4. Sunscreen being less greasy

Whilst this study is a bit outdated, I still hear these same reasons being given to me at the market days. In this article, I will shed some light on each of these reasons and explain why you should never avoid wearing sunscreen again. 

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Conventional Sunscreens Are Greasy

The main reason why people don't like wearing sunscreen that I hear is because they don't like how it feels. Conventional sunscreens are often very greasy due to the high quantities of chemical UV filters (used to provide SPF), silicone and acrylate polymers in the formulation. It is the chemical UV filters that can also cause breakouts and skin irritations.

Did you know? Seasick Sunscreen is formulated without any chemical UV filters!

Sunscreen Is Expensive in New Zealand

There is no doubt about it, sunscreen is expensive in New Zealand and cost is definitely a barrier to people applying sunscreen on a daily basis. To cut down on cost, people often look to buy sunscreen in bulk. However, more isn't necessarily more! Take a solid shampoo bar for example - one shampoo bar is the equivalent of 3 plastic bottles of shampoo. So whilst the upfront cost of a shampoo bar may seem more expensive, it actually works out to be the same cost as you get far more uses out of it. This is exactly the same with Seasick Sunscreen which I like to describe as a concentrated sun balm more than a typical sunscreen. Because our formula contains no water, a little goes a long way and a 70g tin is the equivalent of approximately 200ml of liquid sunscreen!

People Want More Proof that Sunscreen Actually Works

With so many major sunscreen brands failing to meet their SPF claims, there is no wonder that people don't have a high level of trust that sunscreen actually works. I often hear people say that they applied sunscreen but got burnt anyway. So why aren't sunscreens providing the protection that they should?

  1. Some brands  completed their SPF testing at labs that were found to have falsified results
  2. Chemical UV filters degrade overtime so may not be providing the same level of SPF that is labelled on the bottle
  3. People often don't re-apply often enough or are applying sunscreen incorrectly

Lots of people I talk to are suspicious that a "natural sunscreen" such as Seasick Sunscreen won't work. Interestingly, zinc is actually the original form of sun protection but they zinc sunblock went out of fashion and were largely replaced by chemical-based sunscreens because they often leave a white cast on the skin. We worked hard over several years to create a formula that rubs in really well and leaves no white cast, even on darker skin tones.

Sunscreen Helps to Protect Against Skin Damage and Melanoma

Whilst you may have some reservations about wearing sunscreen, it's well demonstrated that sunscreen does help to protect you from skin damage and reduce the risk of developing skin cancer. It's unfortunate that so many people (myself included) have had so many bad experiences with sunscreen that they being to avoid wearing it at all. Before creating Seasick Sunscreen, I was that person! I want everyone to have the opportunity to try our formula and to change the way people think about and experience sun protection. 

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30g tin of sunscreen in the palm of a hand on a sandy beach


Douglass, H.M., McGee, R. and Williams, S., 1997. Sun behaviour and perceptions of risk for melanoma among 21–year–old New Zealanders. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 21(3), pp.329-334. Available from:

1 comment

  • Does it contain any tree nut oils? I’m allergic to those

    Sarah Macready

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