Entrepreneurial identical twin sisters, raised in some of the world’s hottest climates, are driving the latest sun safety campaign to reach some of our most vulnerable sun seekers – teens and tweens.
Brisbane mums Angela Tallon and Joanne Harding have ramped up a home-grown project to protect and empower the nation’s youth to wear sunscreen.
And it was sparked by the need to develop a new sunscreen that smelled good for teens and tweens after the blonde, fair-skinned sisters realised that young Australians weren’t too fussed on the sunscreen experience.
Angela and Joanne developed their own brand of sunscreen called NewDaySkin, already receiving approval from their children.
Taking almost 2.5 years to develop the products, the full-time working mums, who have five kids between them, believe they have created good quality sun protection that is “modern, fun and made just for teens and tweens”.
“We came up with the idea after (Joanne’s daughter) Lucy asked me if she could try my sun-protective moisturiser one day before the school run. She wanted to use it again the next day because she liked the smell, but it is $70 a bottle,” Joanne said.
Countless late-night brainstorming sessions between the sisters led to hours spent testing hundreds of creams on the market, flying across the country and convincing a chemist to help them to develop a cream of their own.
“For kids, their interest in their wellbeing is really starting to peak when they reach their tweens and teens, so this is a critical time to target sun care, especially for boys,” Angela said.
“Unfortunately, we know there has been no significant decrease in teenage sunburn rates in the last 12 years in Australia. In fact, we could fill Suncorp Stadium 19 times with the amount of Aussie kids aged 12-17 who have reported being sunburnt in the past 12 months – that’s 26 per cent or half a million teens.
“Add to that the fact that only 38 per cent of teenagers have reported
that they applied SPF30 or higher sunscreen when going outside and it paints a very grim picture of the complacency.”
The twins’ idea for a sunscreen range is rooted in a childhood spent in some of the world’s hottest climates, including their early years of school which were spent in the Torres Strait, Indonesia, parts of coastal Queensland and finally in the hot interior in places like Toowoomba.
Travelling around with their teacher parents Monica and Greg the twins and their two younger brothers would spend hours on the beach before
and after school, sometimes holidaying in Bali during years living in Medan on the island of North Sumatra.
“We were amongst a nation of beach babes as kids, and we wore sunscreen, but our Mum has unfortunately had to undergo countless procedures to remove skin cancers over the past 25 years,” Angela said.
“Watching Mum struggle with skin cancer is frightening, but the big turning point for us has been observing Joanne’s daughter Lucy, who is fair-skinned with red hair. We’re almost neurotic about sun protection with our own children.”
“Now that the Cancer Council have declared teens a priority population for the slip, slop, slap, seek and slide message we are more determined than ever to bring about positive change to attitudes towards sun protection,” Angela said.
“We know that sunscreen is not a suit of armour and teens need to wear sun protective clothing, broad-brimmed hats, seek shade and wear sunglasses. But our No.1 mission is to protect our children while
also empowering them to take responsibility for their own health and wellbeing.
“We came up with the name because we want kids around the world to wake up to an exciting new day and voluntarily apply SPF 50 sunscreen as part of their morning routine and throughout the day.
“We want to encourage our teens to be active and enjoy the outdoors – we know that exercise improves mood and reduces stress. But simply waiting for a bus or a train, riding a bike or scooter to school, playing in the lunch hour – these activities expose teens to UV rays.
“We know that the Queensland Government is right behind educating our state’s young people about sun safety so we can shed the title of being at the centre of the skin cancer universe.
“And we are right behind the State Government’s target to raise the number of children practising sun protection to 51 per cent in Queensland in 2020 – that is 41,000 more children using 30+ sunscreen, wearing broad-brimmed hats and wearing sun protective clothing.
“Cancer Council Queensland should be applauded for tackling the issue in schools with an educational program targeting the educators to help improve their health and the health of school communities.
“We all want our teens to be safe, we know from the research that sunscreen is absolutely safe and should be applied often, just like brushing your teeth.
“More than that, applying sunscreen every day in your early years is the best prevention against melanoma, skin damage and premature ageing.
“Even on an overcast day, everyone can still be burned by the sun reflected off buildings, water, sand and even snow. In fact, over 70 per cent of the suns rays still get through the clouds on a cloudy day.”