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Slip, Slap, Slop or Not… Is sun protection important?

Posted on 12 May 2016

Every Australian over the age of 30 grew up with the Slip! Slop! Slap! message. Gotta love the 80’s.

Over the years, the message has expanded to Slip! Slap! Slop! Seek! Slide!  This new message is more than a bit of a mouthful and not something I have ever heard a friend/colleague/neighbour say. Not once.

The slogan is most definitely slipping away, but is the sentiment?

First up. Is sun protection important? The answer is absolutely yes. Even more so today than yesterday.  There are so many reasons, but I reckon the top reasons are as follows: 

  1. 90%-99% of skin cancer is related to sun exposure
  2. Skin cancer is the most common type of cancer in Australia.
  3. Skin cancers account for about 80% of all new cancers diagnosed each year in Australia

Yet skin cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer in Australia. Yes, preventable. Let me say it one more time: PREVENTABLE.  What did you say Annaliese? That’s right, I said preventable.

So if its largely preventable, why it is the most common type of cancer?  Especially with so many great reasons to protect yourself and so much public education focused on skin protection its hard to believe that the sun protection message is not sinking in.  And it's not sinking it.  Unbelievably (in a bad way), a mostly preventable cancer is on the rise. 

Whilst the government continues to invest in super smart SunSmart campaigns aimed at the young (School UV Program) and old (workplace training) alike, I’m going to fight the fight on my own terms.   

Sidebar: non-melanoma skin cancers cost the Australian health system more than $500 million in 2010. It is the most expensive of all cancers.

I am not going to re-hash the same sun smart messages you hear from countless other sources. I ain’t no dermatologist and there is nothing I can say of the topic of sun protection that you haven’t already heard. And even if I was a world class dermatologist, nothing makes a message fade into the noise more easily than repetitive nagging (are you too getting flashbacks about your parentals badgering you eat your Brussel sprouts?)  And scare tactics don’t work either. If they did, we would be actively preventing ourselves from obtaining a preventable cancer.

So what will work? Well, I’m not sure. But I think it has something to do with our society’s definition of beauty.  I am a perfectly imperfect fair skinned women with insecurities – insecurities about my body, my skin, my clothes and a whole bunch of other seemingly superficial things. And those insecurities sometimes make me choose to wear or do things that are illogical (like the totally uncomfortable G-string phase we went through in the late 90’s – thongs are for feet people) because I don’t want to stand out in the crowd for all the wrong reasons.

At the macro level our cultural belief that being ‘sun kissed’ is beautiful needs to change. If you want proof of this then look at the tanned models selling sunscreen! This is not something I can change on my own or something that will change overnight.  But on a micro level I can do something. I can create and share with you a sun protection alternative that is first and foremost fashionable. Fashionable and comfortable. Fashionable, comfortable and affordable.  And it just so happens it provides sun protection too – but I don’t really want you to be thinking of it as ‘sun protection clothing’. 

Honeybell Waterwear garments are designed to make you look great. Designed to make you feel good. Designed to allow you to be your most beautiful self.

With that, welcome to Honeybell Waterwear!

With love,

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