Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Great marketing can protect our health. But...

If I started to sing Slip Slop Slap in the voice of a seagull with a lisp you would all probably sing along with me. That campaign started way back in 1981. I was 6 years old.

Back then,  I was sunburnt every time it was warm. At school there wasn’t a hat policy. No one had that expensive suncream stuff. We wore bikinis in the back yard, with maybe a singlet over the top. There wasn’t any SPF 50+ clothing or rashies or swimsuits.

Ten years later and my Dad, would often tell my sister and I we were foolish for sunbaking. He’d ask if we thought we would look good with big holes in our faces where the doctors might have to cut skin cancers out.

We responded by spraying more Sun In or squirting lemon juice on our hair.

Throw in another twenty years and my nine year old has never ever been sunburnt like I was as a kid. It starts in crèche with sun smart policies where three year olds have little ‘suncream’ stations where they learn to apply it before they go out to play in the morning and afternoon. Because no teacher has time to reapply 25 kids three times a day.

Now as a grown up my daily moisturiser has SPF 15+ in it, so does my hand cream, I can even get shampoos and hair care with sun protection in them.

I have lightweight summer scarves to protect me from the sun.

Our babies have sunshades over the already tinted car windows and even their prams have sun protection covers.

The Slip Slop Slap marketing campaign has changed the thinking of millions of people and saved thousands of lives, crazy amounts of people really.

But, we are so sun smart that a new condition has started to occur for those of us in the Southern States. 

We are lacking Vitamin D. 

We don’t get enough sun in the winter time.

I couldn’t believe it. Mr H is always getting as much sun as he can and he came back with test results saying he is lacking in Vitamin D.

It’s pretty easy to happen. Work in an office, wear a hat, wear clothes, keep under cover when it’s raining, exercise in a gym,

But what happens without the BIG D anyway?

Well, Quite a lot.  We are more like plants than you think and we really need a stack of water and a hit of sun to make us grow strong bones. No sun is linked to a whole range of stuff best avoided, MS and diabetes among them! That's serious illness. Then there is your mental health too, sun = happy.

The kids also need it to make sure they have strong bones and teeth. All that brushing won’t help if their teeth are not even strong enough to hang around.

In the summer time you probably get the Vitamin D you need, but if you are in a colder climate, from May to September your body is probably not. If you have SPF in your facecream and hand cream, and wearing your winter woollies covering the rest of your body, then you are not getting a scrap of Vitamin D for over four months. Remember your body can’t store Vitamin D, so it doesn’t matter how much you got back on your January beach holiday, your bones need more.

I tell you ladies, we don’t want to be falling over on the dance floor of life and cracking bones just because we didn’t get enough sun shine.

So what to do?
Well, you could eat more fish but hardly anyone gets enough Vit D from food.
Instead, try a winter skin care regime, that simply means your make up or moisturiser has no SPF in it. (Unless you are going to the snow, then use your summer stuff, that glare will burn you like a marshmallow in a fire).

Get outside in the daytime, or sit by a big sunny window with your arms getting some sunshine. Walk your baby in the middle of the day and let them get some sun on them too.

I am in NO WAY suggesting you try and get enough sun to burn your skin. You don’t need to go that far, just 15 minutes of sun on your hands during the middle of the day is what you need. It might be just hanging out the washing.

If you live in a sunny place like Queensland, you don’t really need to read this so much, you probably get enough and sun protection is still your reality.

Lastly and importantly, remember I AM NOT A DOCTOR. THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. You should always take the advice of your doctor. But next time you have to take a routine blood test, consider asking if they can check your Vitamin D (if they are not already) and make sure you are giving your body the sunshine it needs.

Better Health also tells you all the facts, and they are real doctor types.


  1. Great point Claire. I'm vitamin D deficient and I live on a farm in Queensland!
    Must remember to start taking my supplement again! Hope you are well. x

  2. My mum has Lupus and hardly ever goes in the sun and as a result she has a massive vitamin D deficiency which ironically was making her feel almost as poorly as her Lupus! I didn't know that the body couldn't store Vitamin D, so I'll be taking your tips on board and trying to get out in the winter sunshine (if it ever reappears in Sydney...)

  3. Another piece of advice - stop wearing beanies. My son's childcare centre actually introduced a rule of no beanies over winter. This was a few years ago and there was some resistance. But this was their argument - kids are covered up all summer and need the winter rays.

    1. That's an interesting one Amanda, I wouldn't have thought a beanie would provide much sun protection, unless you had those ones with peaks on them, but eitherway, they are really thinking about the needs of sun for growing bodies and that is fantastic.

  4. There's no way I'm deficient in this, I spend too much time out and about - with sunblock on now... x

  5. I love sitting in the sun in winter, esp when I'm eating lunch.


Commenting brings amazing luck, you must try it and see how you go!