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Slop gets a slappin': Nanoparticles in sunscreen and staying SunSmart

Friday 10 February, 2012 by Cairín

SunSmart 's iconic jingle is in trouble. Cheerful Sid the Seagull in board shorts, t-shirt and hat has been dancing his way across our screens since the 1980s singing the jingle – Slip, Slop, Slap, Seek and Slide.

But lately, he's been finding it harder to disco as his beloved Slop message has become the subject of public scrutiny, receiving much negative publicity, due to the questionable safety of nanoparticles in sunscreen.

The latest research by Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education study found one in four Australians who had heard stories about the risks of nanoparticle-based sunscreens felt it was safer to use no sunscreen at all.

This is a worrying statistic. Are nanoparticles dangerous? Does Sid need to revise his cheerful jingle, adding in the words ‘nano-free' sunscreen to his catchy lyrics?

The answer is no – Sid will still be singing and dancing his jingle for years to come. Cancer Council has done and reviewed a lot of research into the area of sunscreen. The evidence shows that sunscreen has been proven to reduce the risk of skin cancer, both melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer so it could be in fact dangerous to your health to ditch the sunscreen.

Skin cancer claims more than 1,830 lives each year in Australia and it's important that sun lovers to continue to protect themselves with all five sun protection measures when ultraviolet (UV) radiation is at damaging levels. But don't rely on sunscreen alone – always combine with clothing, hats, shade and sunglasses too.

Top Slopping Tips!

  • To find out when you do and don't need sun protection, the free SunSmart app  for smart phones is a handy tool that includes a vitamin D tracker, sunscreen calculator and daily sun protection reminder function so you know when to get slip, slop, slapping! 
  • If still concerned about nanoparticles, just choose a sunscreen that doesn't contain any, like Cancer Council Everyday sunscreen and some other ones listed by Choice. 
  • When picking out a sunscreen, go for sunscreen you like wearing and that suits your skin type and activity rather than relying on price or brand but make sure it's SPF 30+, water resistant and broad spectrum. 
  • In laboratory conditions SPF 30+ sunscreen filters 96.7% of UV radiation but we know that people only put on a third to a half of the amount of sunscreen that they should and often forget to reapply every 2 hours. Set a reminder using the free SunSmart app and apply sunscreen liberally – at least a teaspoon for each limb, front and back of the body and half a teaspoon for the face, neck and ears.

If you care to see Sid the Seagull in the feathers, dancing like it's 1981 when he first appeared on our screens, come to St Kilda festival  this Sunday. At 3.30 pm on the main stage, Sid will be dancing his heart out against other mascots in the great mascot dance off. So show him some love and give him a cheer. He's been having a rough old time of it lately. 


Go Sid! I hope you kick some furry butt at St Kilda Fest .

From: Bek, 15/04/2013

Are all Cancer Council sunscreens free from nanoparticles or just some of them?

From: Carolyn, 15/04/2013

Yep... all of em are nano-free. The Cancer Council Classic Sunscreen is particularly recommended because it’s nano-free and doesn’t contain chemical absorbers either.

From: Cairin , 15/04/2013

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