Note From Zoë: How We Talk About Sunscreen Matters
Zoë Foster Blake
So you've finally (!) met our long-awaited SPF 50 daily sunscreen!
Before I lose my head in all the excitement, I need to explain why comments and reviews on this product differ from other Go-To products.
As it’s a TGA-listed product, there are regulations about how I, we, you, anyone talks about it. This is in lieu of recent changes within the Therapeutic Goods Advertising Code.
But before I get into the requirements, I want to talk a little about this code… *clears throat*
Broad spectrum sunscreen is the most effective tool against photoaging (wrinkling, sagging, brown spots) and skin cancer you can use.
I’ve been in the beauty industry for almost 20 years, and care very much if people - all people! - wear sunscreen each day.
I understand the code exists to protect the consumer; to stop frivolous, dangerous, and disingenuous reviews of medical products. We back anything that helps consumers make safe, informed decisions about their products; at Go-To we put safety above all, and never more so than with sunscreen.
But the code lacks critical nuance.
And this could be very detrimental for sunscreen usage in Australia, a country where melanoma is the #1 cancer for people aged 20-39.
As the founder of an Australian-made and owned skincare company that carefully formulates sunscreen products to Australian standards for Australians, my team and I are very invested in how Australians perceive, understand and use sunscreen.
And I believe elements of this code have the potential to reverse the momentum public health, cancer awareness groups, and skin specialists have been building for years to ensure Australians wear sunscreen daily.
Many consumers still believe sunscreen is gross, thick, greasy. It is not.
We have spent many years making a product that aggressively disproves this, as have other modern sun protection brands. But if people don’t see other people’s honest reviews about the benefits of this sensory innovation: what would convince them to try sunscreen again?
Mandatory warnings and instructions on TGA product advertising are good: we need people to protect themselves properly. But constraining personal opinions and testimonials – whether unpaid, paid or gifted – will create unnecessary friction for consumers who come to sunscreen reluctantly, even negatively, to begin with.
Personal reviews inspire purchase and use.
More than ads, more than cancer scare tactics. The popularity and proliferation of successful beauty products has always operated on ‘if other people like it.’ From the back fence to club bathroom chat, to Whatsapp, TikTok and online reviews: this is how people discover skincare products, and what compels them to try them.
Restricting this long standing tradition could impede so much potential sunscreen uptake.
I’m grateful the TGA takes sunscreen so seriously; Australia is a world leader in sun protection because of this. We have the toughest sun, and the toughest regulatory board. This is good for the consumer.
… But not all therapeutic products fall under the same umbrella.
I hope the TGA reconsiders the severe restrictions and breathtaking penalties around sunscreen testimonials and helps sunscreen manufacturers encourage Australians to wear sunscreen every day.
I know we’re not curing cancer.
But we are trying our very best to help prevent people from unnecessarily getting it.
Okay! Phew! Onto the requirements for talking about our sunscreen. And you can talk about it! Please do! Just remember that any comment or review on this product cannot:
- Exaggerate the product’s efficacy or performance (“It’s magic!”)
- Contain any info that cannot be substantiated (e.g; what’s on the label)
- Support unsafe and improper use of the products (no ‘TikTok two-swipes in golden hour’ on the cheeks application)
- Infer that this product will create world peace.
I hope this explains why some comments may be moderated or deleted.
Thank you for reading. And more than that, thank you for your patience.
Avoid prolonged sun exposure, and make sure you re-apply frequently in accordance with directions. Remember, sunscreen is only one component of sun protection so always wear a hat, protective clothing and eyewear when you’re in the sun.