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This transcript was typed from a recording of a report on Slip Slop Slap loaded on the YouTube website by tenNEWS on 4 November 2010. AusSun cannot guarantee its complete accuracy because of the possibility of mishearing and occasional difficulty in identifying speakers.

Ron Wilson from tenNEWS talks with Professor Michael Kimlin from the Centre for Research Excellence in Sun and Health Reporter: This is Ten’s Morning News.

Reporter: Well, with summer just around the corner, hopefully, we’re being reminded about the Slip SLOP Slap message and for more we’re being joined by Professor Michael Kimlin from the Centre for Research Excellence in Sun and Health. Professor, good morning.

Professor Michael Kimlin: Good morning.

Reporter: Professor, notwithstanding the amount of rain that seems to be falling right across this country at the moment, Australia does have the highest rate of skin cancer anywhere in the world. Why are we having so much difficulty getting this message through our thick heads!

Professor Michael Kimlin: Well, I think we actually are doing a really good job in general with sun protection in Australia. Obviously we can do a lot better because as you say, we do have the highest rates of skin cancer in the world. And those rates don’t really seem to be changing a whole lot at the moment. So, we just need to perhaps change our tack just a little, and keep reminding people of how simple it is to actually protect yourself from the sun and the risk of skin cancer.

Reporter: SBF, SPF rather, the Sun Protection Factor in sunscreen seems to be one of those things that is confusing people generally. What is considered a reasonable level of protection in the SPF factor and particularly for children?

Professor Michael Kimlin: Oh look, you know, I think the good rule of thumb for folk is to actually remember that the higher the number the more protection it gives, and we recommend 30 plus sunscreen certainly as a minimum as a way of protecting yourself against excessive sun exposure. But we need to also remember that sunscreens shouldn’t be considered a first line of defence, they should be part of your arsenal of equipment that you need to use to protect yourself from the sun.

Reporter: So, what are the other factors we should be looking at most particularly?

Professor Michael Kimlin: Well, in particular the easiest way to reduce your sun exposure is when possible stay indoors. Now I know that some people have to work and play for a living and need to be outdoors so, if you’re outdoors and you don’t have access to sunscreen or other items like that, shade really helps and using appropriate clothing such as long sleeve clothing that’s cool in summer. And also hats. Hats are a great way to reduce exposure.

Reporter: Well, clearly, that’s not going to develop the bronzed Aussie we are so much known for. What are the alternatives of getting out of the sun for getting brown?

Professor Michael Kimlin: Look, I would say that if people are desperate for a tan they should potentially look at using the apply-yourself or the spray on tans. We certainly don’t recommend the use of solariums or sunbaking to actually get a tan because we know that those two things actually increase your risk of skin cancer quite dramatically. So, if people are concerned they should certainly look at the spray tans or the roll-on tans as an alternative but remembering that even with those particular things they don’t provide any uv protection. So even though you may appear brown, you’re getting very very very little in the way of sun protection because of those fake tans.

Reporter: I mentioned children there, and their very delicate skin. What sort of protection should we be giving children and if they need to be, or are out in the sun?

Professor Michael Kimlin: Oh look, children are a very venerable population and in fact we know that some sun exposure during childhood increases your risk of sun cancer later in life. So anything that we can do to reduce sun exposure in those early ages are important. And I think it’s great that when I go to the beach and I look parents actually having kids in the lycra sun suits, I think that’s a wonderful way that they can protect their children’s skin from sun exposure but combining it with sunscreen, combining it with a good hat, and combining it with using shade is a fantastic way of actually reducing children’s sun exposure.

Reporter: Well, here’s hoping we get enough sunshine this year to actually go out and a bit of a tan at least. Professor thank you very much for speaking with us this morning. Professor Michael Kimlin from the Australian Sun and Health Research Laboratory.