suncream at the beach

Are you afraid of the sun? As you’re leaving the house, you’d probably answer ‘No’ while applying SPF cream to protect your skin against skin cancer. You know very well the risks associated with excessive sun exposure, so you want to stay on the safe side.

What is Slip Slop Slap?

The slip-slop-slap was a strategy widely used in Australia in the 1980’s to raise awareness of the importance of sun protection. Featuring a seagull that went by the name of Sid, the campaign invited people to reduce sun exposure in order to protect themselves from skin cancer.

At that time, the campaign was highly successful as people became aware of sun protection and the risks associated to excessive sun exposure… but nowadays sun protection awareness is slipping towards scare campaigns.

Let’s be clear: moderate sun exposure is healthy

Professor Martin Feelisch from the University of Southampton highlights that people are now scared to get out in the sun because of the “scare campaigns” urging people to hide from the sun.

Our health can actually benefit from getting out in the sun. The secret lies in moderate sun exposure.

What are the main benefits of sun exposure?

  • It reduces high blood pressure
  • This in turn reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke
  • It produces vitamin D, which can only be produced with sunlight exposure
  • This in turn helps regulate the absorption of calcium and phosphorus in our bones and aids our body cells communicate between themselves

So if sun exposure is healthy, does it mean ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ is fake?

You saw that moderate sun exposure is good to your health. Nonetheless, 2,000 Australians pass away each year because of skin cancer.

So what should you do?

Australia is a country whose population is mainly Caucasian, so we are not as protected naturally (we don’t have enough pigment in our skin), which increases the risk of getting burnt in intense sunlight. While you can and should get out into the sun, do it with moderation and avoid the peak hours when the sun rays are intense.

This is the point made both by the ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’ campaign and by scientists. Don’t be afraid to stay 30 minutes in the sun without applying SPF cream; but make sure you do apply SPF cream when you spend hours in the sun (especially if you’re exposing yourself to the summer sun rays between 11AM-4PM).

Now it’s your turn…

  • Do you think the media is encouraging campaigns that are meant to instill fear towards sun rays?
  • How are you protecting yourself from too much sun exposure? When do you go out in the sun and enjoy the sun rays?
  • How often do you undertake skin tests to ensure you have a healthy skin?

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