It would be hard to find an Australian that does not know the Slip! Slop! Slap! message. And, as a mum, I am really great at making my kids wear rashies and hats and sunscreen. But when it came to protecting my own skin, like so many other things, I didn’t enforce the same sun-safe rules for myself.
I have the type of skin that burns, so I have never actively tanned. But the issue was that, despite growing up with the Cancer Council’s Slip! Slop! Slap! message, until recently, I didn’t really know how to Slip! Slop! Slap! properly.
So, as the weather begins to warm up, I want to give you a quick reminder of how to enjoy the sun safely this summer season.
1. Slip on a shirt…
Yes, we all love our t-shirts, flowy kaftans and oh-so-versatile sarongs. Personally my sarong used to double as a cover up, tablecloth, towel, and burping cloth all on the same day. But did you know, that the average white cotton t-shirt only has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of about 5?
This means that it allows 1/5th of the sun’s UV rays to pass through. It is these UV rays, that are not blocked by cloud coverage, and that causes sunburn, premature skin ageing, wrinkles and potentially skin cancer.
Please, tell everyone you know, the Cancer Council’s Slip Slop Slap message is NOT being fulfilled by slipping on clothing of just any description. You need to be wearing clothing that has been specifically designed to protect you from the sun – like the rashies we make our kids wear.
2. Slop on sunscreen…
Every day is a day that sunscreen is needed. Not just beach days, but also cool days, cloudy days, backyard play days and blue sky summer days. There is no connection between UV levels and temperature. UV light is invisible. You cannot see it, hear it or feel it.
Get in the habit of applying sunscreen every day. Be generous with your sunscreen, apply it before you go outside and reapply it at least every 2 hours.
I’m going to be honest with you here: I admit to putting my sunscreen on at the start of the day and then, unless I can feel the warmth of the sun on my skin, I often forget to reapply. This is why, whilst sunscreen is a great defense, it should not be your only defense.
3. Slap on a hat…
Yes, you need your hat to be breathable, lightweight and comfortable – but it also needs to be constructed in a fabric that offers protection. I see women wearing their big floppy straw hats and yes, they look good and provide shade, but if you can see through the weave, then those UV rays can see you too!
Like sun protection clothing, look for hats that are labelled as providing protection from UV exposure.
Sun protection is more important than you are probably aware…
The statistics are scary: Two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the time they are 70. It is the most common type of cancer in Australia, and 90%-99% of skin cancer is related to sun exposure. And just in case skin cancer wasn’t enough of a deterrent, up to 90% of the visible signs of ageing, including wrinkles, are caused by sun damage too. So, be it for health or vanity reasons, having the best possible skin comes down to… reducing sun damage.
Don’t be a statistic
With so many great reasons to protect yourself and so much public education focused on skin protection, it’s hard to believe that we Aussies are not already world class superstars at sun safety. I implore you, please don’t be a statistic, learn more about sun protection, and enjoy the sun safely.
Founder of Honeybell Waterwear
Read about Annaliese and Honeybell Waterwear here:
Annaliese Allen is the founder of Honeybell Waterwear, an Australian boutique sun protection clothing label for women. Annaliese got tired of feeling body and fashion conscious when wearing sun protective clothing, which made her realise that other women were probably feeling the same way too. On a mission to give women a sense of confidence, she decided to redefine the sun protection clothing industry and launch Honeybell Waterwear. All Honeybell Waterwear garments are made in a breathable fabric that is certified as providing UPF 50+ protection, that blocks 98% of the sun’s damaging UVA/UVB rays. The collection features 100% exclusive modern Australiana prints in lightweight, quick-drying materials designed to provide a feminine fit that drapes your body shape and leaves you feeling comfortable and relaxed.