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When It Comes to Sun Protection, Australians Know Best

Find out which sunscreens are popular abroad and why Australians know so much about UV protection.

Jeffrey Westbrook/Studio D
When it comes to sun protection, Australians have Americans beat. This expat explains why.

Growing up in the country with the highest incidence of skin cancer in the world, I learned to be overzealous about sun protection. All around my elementary school, in Adelaide, Australia, there were posters showing pictures of moles gone mad. Terrifying! And on TV, we were subjected to community-service announcements starring a cartoon character called Sid the Seagull, who preached the mantra "Slip! Slop! Slap!" The "Slip!" part was all about "slipping on a shirt." "Slop!" was more colorful. With constant reports of a large, ominous hole in the ozone layer directly above us, sunscreen alone seemed inadequate. Solution? Slop some brightly colored zinc cream on top (fluorescent pink was particularly popular). "Slap!" was a reminder to put on a hat. Our school administrators favored the great fashion fail that is the Legionnaire's cap, a baseball hat with an odd little cape-like flap on the back. Sure, your neck remained unblistered, but your fashion cred? Seriously tarnished. Still, the sun-safety message stuck. Today, I live in Brooklyn, New York, but I haven't lost my Aussie ways: I have a collection of vintage cover-ups, I won't leave the house without a coating of 30-plus, and I always try to wear a hat. Hopefully Sid approves.

Courtesy of Company


These top-selling sunscreens keep women around the world covered: 1) Australian Gold SPF 30 Spray Gel with Instant Bronzer, $9; ulta.com; 2) Lancaster Satin Sheen Oil Fast Tan Optimizer SPF30, $42; lancaster-beauty.com 3) Shiseido Urban Environment UV Protection Cream SPF 40, $30; 4) Bobbi Brown BB Cream SPF 35, $44.

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