Image credit: Sean Fernitz
Every Aussie kid knows, “Slip, Slop, Slap.”
Slip on a shirt, slop on some sunscreen, and slap on a hat. The basic guide for going outside.
In 1980, we were introduced to Sid the singing, tap-dancing Seagull and his alliterated message of self-protection. It’s a fun little slogan for a very serious campaign. Every summer since, the Cancer Council of Australia has reminded us about the risks of skin cancer, because a sunburn can become more than just an embarrassing tan line.
Australia has one of the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. According to the national bureau of statistics, two in three Australians will be diagnosed with a form of skin cancer before they turn seventy.
The council says twenty-four per cent of our country’s young adults get burnt each weekend. I can understand why. Weekends occur at the beach, and yes, we scoff sausages and play footy and volleyball and all the stereotypical Aussie things.
As a ginger, I am among the ‘un-tan-able’ select. I meet the weekend clad in fully-functional hoodies, sunglasses and ankle length denim. Jane Austen would find me boringly modest. Californians would take pictures, just in case I’m someone famous. But I still burn.
I recall bed-ridden days with blisters down my back, my mother rubbing lotion and scolding, “Why didn’t you Slip, Slop, Slap?” Just last week I fell asleep in a car and awoke to find half my body the familiar shade of lobster. There is just no avoiding it, and it’s not just us. America, Europe, even the UK (on occasion) receive the UV’s.
So here is a gentle reminder to all: when you wake and see the sun, remember that it sees you. So be sun-safe and sun-smart and Slip, Slop, Slap!