A new skin cancer campaign is using the message ‘health is beauty’ to promote sun safety in Queensland

A new sun safety campaign is playing on the idea of beauty – and how it can be damaged by the sun – in a bid to reach young Queensland women.

Project SPF, or Stay Pretty Forever, is hoping to reduce the incidents of skin cancers by using a team of fashion and beauty insiders to bring home its message.

The collective includes Australian fashion designer Juli Grbac, Australia’s Next Top Model finalist Liz Braithwaite, stylist and bmag’s fashion editor Laura Stead-Churchill, founder of Alpha-H Skincare Michelle Doherty, founders of Sabo Skirt, Thessy and Yiota Kouzoukas, fashion director of The Style Creeper Nyla Jade and Bespecd eyewear designer Tracey Cruickshank.

Using their combined influence, Project SPF will promote sun safety and re-affirm that ‘health is beauty’, a message it says is often ignored in the fashion industry.

New York-based Grbac says as soon as she moved overseas, she noticed how strong the tanning culture in Queensland was.

“Tanning and sun exposure is last on the agenda in New York. There is a ‘health is beauty’ resurgence in the fashion industry and undamaged skin is a huge part of this.

“I’m quite sensitive to the sun, so I always wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunscreen under my make-up. I also like to carry invisible zinc in my handbag. It’s great for popping on the cheekbones as a highlighter when you feel it getting warmer,” Grbac says.

Australia’s Next Top Model finalist Liz Braithwaite believes the fashion industry in Queensland is not far behind its New York counterpart.

“The industry is changing and on the runway there is a real focus on porcelain skin tones and I constantly hear from fashion designers that a more natural look is what they are after.

“I am a huge believer in natural beauty and preserving my skin, which is why I wanted to be part of this movement,” Braithwaite says.

Meanwhile, Health Minister Lawrence Springborg says traditional sun safety campaigns aren’t reaching young people.

“The new campaign, Project SPF highlights the physical damage sun exposure causes and while it may not be conventional, the research tells us it is more likely to have an impact,” he says.

Mr Springborg says one of the components of the Project SPF campaign was to convince young women that sun protective clothing could be fashionable.

While the fashion industry may be changing, young Queensland women still aren’t getting the message, with 70 per cent reporting damaging sunburns every year, according to the Cancer Council.

Katie Clift, Cancer Council’s Queensland spokesperson says initiatives like Project SPF, which encourage young women to take care of their skin, are crucial.

“It’s vital that being sun smart becomes fashion-forward, helping young Queenslanders stay safe in the sun without compromise,” Clift says.

“Project SPF is a strong campaign reinforcing the truth that diligent care of your skin and avoiding increased sun exposure has long-term benefits.

“The effects of inadequate sun protection can be ugly – not only are young Queenslanders increasing their risk of skin cancer, but also premature ageing,” she says.

Clift warns that with Queensland’s UV Index above three all-year-round, sun protection is needed through every season, as sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes.

Cancer Council Queensland gives there tips on staying sun safe in Queensland:

  • Ensure you wear minimum SPF30 or above broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen every day, and re-apply it every two hours when out and about.
  • Choose a stylish broad-brimmed hat and wear sun protective clothing.
  • Don’t forget to opt for the shade with your sunnies on too!

You can get involved in Project SPF with their design competition calling for young creatives to submit a piece of originally designed sun-safe fashion. The winner will receive an invaluable mentorship from Juli Grbac as well as other exciting prizes. To enter visit their facebook page.