Monday, 7 January 2008

Slip! Slop! Slap! (and Wrap)

This is one of my favourite positions for summer.

'Slip-Slop-Slap' is the name for a campaign in Australia exhorting people to "slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat" when they go out into the sun in order to prevent skin cancer. It is probably Australia's most recognisable health message

The campaign started in 1981 and its mascot is a seagull called Sid.
(See Sid here). The campaign included advertisements and a jingle and has been adopted universally as part of SunSmart campaigning. As a result the incidence of skin cancer in Australia has decreased.

The health campaign was extended in later years to encourage the use of sunglasses. That is, slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap on some sunnies
: "Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap". By this stage however the skin cancer aware message of the campaign had successfully been absorbed into the Australian psyche and "slip, slop slap, wrap" was neither as memorable or as necessary as its precursor. (Source: Wikipedia)

Most primary schools require hats to be worn when kids are playing outside. They have a "no hat, no play" policy.

More than all that, though, we're exhorted to stay in the shade as much as possible.

Australia still has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. About 280,000 skin cancers are diagnosed each year in Australia including about 8,000 melanomas, the most dangerous form. Each year 1,200 Australians die from skin cancer. Here's all the facts and figures from the Cancer Council.

Some people from overseas have commented about the tops that everyone wears to swim in (see yesterday's photos, and there's one over the deck chair in this one). They're called "rash vests" (or, inevitably, "rashies" in Australianese). They were first worn by surfers, in conditions when a wetsuit isn't needed, to prevent chest rashes developing from the wax on their boards. Now they are a staple part of beachwear, in order to prevent sunburn.


  1. Hello, found your site thru Joann's Digital Eyes. That girl has her eyes everywhere! Yep, my favorite position in summer is in Shade!! With a breeze.

  2. I burn even under a Breton sun, so this message is for me too! Enjoy your vacation, Sally!

  3. in this moment, we cannot have the “Slipway-Slop-Slap” position

  4. The figures are interesting and so is the public health campaign, especially the school policy of no hat no play.

    In Jamaica we have a very high incidence of prostate cancer. No one has been able to figure out why. Some say it's because of the mining of bauxite, others say it's something in the water, still others say that it's the ackee and saltfish (our national dish).

  5. I think it was Melbourne's The Age that had an article that after the slip slop slap, it has prevented the skin from getting the rays from the sun that convert into Vit D.

    I think ozzies love the sun too much!

    Here in Asia, everyone hides from the sun! Only tourist from cold countries are baking themselves in the sun. haha...

  6. i quit like the campaign. slip-slop-slap is quite catchy. and good photo too, all the elements are there, but the person is missing. nice :)
    - Mindless Mumbai