January 12, 2012 @ 12:00 PM

I was 16 years old once.  28 years ago.   I used to love basking in the sun.  Back then, it was a popular thing to do.    I'm sure lots of people (particularly in Australia) got skin cancer back then.... but it wasn't publicized.  There were no campaigns. 
It was 20 years ago that the "Slip Slop Slap" promotion came on TV.  Even 20 years ago... there were three steps : Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a hat.   Now there are 5 s's.    Slip, Slop, Slap, SEEK shade and SLIDE on sunglasses. 

I wish I knew then... what I know now.  I studied beauty therapy 16 years ago.  That's when I made HUGE changes to the way I view tanning, and sun protection.  It has helped.  I don't look like I'm 44yo.  I actually stopped tanning 20 years ago (because I spent 3 years in London prior to becoming a beauty therapist, and there's not much opportunity to sunbake over there).  It's never too late to change bad habits.

It is OUR job to change perceptions of the 16 year olds.  Make them aware that a tanned skin is NOT beautiful.  It is NOT healthy.  Tanned skin can kill.  It WILL prematurely age your skin.  It is believed that 80% of facial ageing (wrinkles and fine lines) is due to sun exposure.

But I'm afraid that 16 is even too old.  I think this needs to be instilled into children.... even at 8, 9, 10 years old.  Even younger.  I have a 4yo daughter and a 5yo son.  They have sunblock attached to their back packs.  There is sunscreen by the back door.  When they go out to play, they know how to apply it themselves.  They know they have to wear hats.  They have LOTS of hats.  It takes just 11 minutes in the Australian sun for your skin to BURN. 

Kids do as kids see too.  So the parents NEED to protect themselves, as they would protect their children.

Anyone over 35 might remember the magazine models used to be sooooo tanned.  Looking back at it now, they look ridiculous.  Back then, most of us aspired to look that tanned.  Thankfully the magazines don't put ridiculously tanned models into their magazines.

And for those in Australia - our ozone layer is virtually depleted.  The sun IS more damaging here.  Australia has the highest rates of skin cancer in the world!  At least two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70.  Over 1,830 Australians DIE from skin cancer EACH YEAR.    In Victoria alone, 401 people die from skin cancer each year - that is many MORE than Victoria's annual road toll !!!!   How scary is that!?!?!

I could go on and on and on.   But I won't do it all in one blog post.  I urge you to visit:   http://www.sunsmart.com.au 
Get informed.  Get protected. 

If you like this post... please press the like/share button if you're on Facebook.   Or copy the link and email to your friends.  Or just leave me a comment below. 

And if you haven't seen this video.... please watch it.  If you have young people with you... get them to watch it.