Fair play at this year's L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival

Tuesday 15 March, 2011

The L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival (LMFF) is helping to shift perceptions of tan fans as they embrace natural skin colour at this year's event.

SunSmart Manager, Sue Heward, said: "Fashion events play a key role in showing young people that the tanned look is not ‘in' and we applaud LMFF for encouraging natural-looking skin colour."

"The Festival's support of natural skin colour is a big step toward changing young peoples tanning behaviours and preventing skin cancer," she added.

"Scars showing where skin cancers have been cut out don't make for a great fashion accessory, so sporting sun protection with your latest look is the only way to go!"

LMFF General Manager, Kiri Delly, said: "The trend for natural-looking skin is being embraced by this year's show as the perfect complementary look for the next 2011 collection."

Recent research by Cancer Council Victoria on tanning showed that although Victorians have significantly improved their SunSmart behaviour, young people are still risking their lives in the name of vanity.

Worryingly, 53% of respondents desired a tan and among these, 33% indicated they were likely to sunbake during summer and 5% were likely to use a solarium to achieve a bronzed body.

Australian adolescents have by far the highest incidence of malignant melanoma in the world, compared with adolescents in other countries. In Victoria nearly 20% of all cancers in 15 to 24 year olds are melanomas.

Ms Heward said it is critical to get the message across to young people and adolescents that tanning, not just sunburn is dangerous and will increase your risk of skin cancer. Tanning is also a major cause of premature aging. It is believed that as much as 80% of premature facial aging - such as wrinkles and fine lines - are due to sun exposure.

"There's still a lot of work to do but with events like the LMFF embracing natural skin colour, we are starting to sway tan fans away from sunbaking," said Ms Heward.

Preparation is the key to protecting yourself in the sun so check the daily SunSmart UV alert on the free SunSmart app for iPhone or online before heading out and note the time of the day that sun protection is required.

When ever the UV is three and above, slip on sun protective clothing, slop on SPF 30 + sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade and slide on sunglasses.

For more information on skin cancer and skin protection visit www.sunsmart.com.au.

The Cancer Council Victoria survey was conducted during Summer 2009-10 with more than 1,400 Victorians aged 13 to 34 years. The online survey collected baseline data on sun protection knowledge, attitudes and behaviours.