SUN SAFE: Gretel Whiteman, Harriet Mildenhall , Barney Whiteman, Eloise Mildenhall and Jemima Whiteman were given ugly rashies for Christmas from their grandmother.
SUN SAFE: Gretel Whiteman, Harriet Mildenhall , Barney Whiteman, Eloise Mildenhall and Jemima Whiteman were given ugly rashies for Christmas from their grandmother. Patrick Woods

Suns out, ugly rashies out: Don't be a burnt crisp

WHEN your father is a leading skin cancer researcher, sun safety is part and parcel of one's childhood.

Growing up, the Whiteman family were forced to don wide-brimmed hats, protective clothing and endure the "smells like sunscreen" quips.

As they grew older they became more aware and naturally sun safe.

But this Christmas, the Brisbane family have well and truly embraced their father's stance on sun safety.

Gretel, Jemima and Barney Whiteman and cousins Harriet and Eloise Mildenhall will be easy to find at Mudjimba Beach thanks to their colourful rashies - a Christmas present from their Grandmother.

"Dad (David) tends to lead by example by applying an embarrassingly thick amount of sunscreen," Gretel said while on their annual holiday trip at Mudjimba yesterday.

"We were all the kids who smelt like sunscreen at school but it worked, we definitely don't have cancer.

"His strong message to wear a hat and sunscreen helped in the end."

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The rashies though, are another step up entirely.

"Grandma heard about the ugly rashies trend and bought us one each," she laughed.

"We have definitely got some looks, people laughing and pointing, but it is all in good fun.

"We will keep wearing them, I think it is a slow burning trend. I've worn rashies before but I actually like these ugly ones more."

As temperatures in parts of the state reach high 30s, ultra violet light levels hit 11 or more.

Cancer Council Queensland CEO Ms Chris McMillan encouraged the rashie movement.

"We know this is a time that families and friends get together to enjoy the festive season and hit the beach," Ms McMillan said.

"However, where possible, people should avoid direct sun exposure - especially during periods of extreme heat and high UV levels, at the peak of the day.

"Sun protection remains the best defence against skin cancer and is required when the UV Index is 3 and above. Skin damage can occur in as little as 10-15 minutes without protection."

Cancer Council's 5 sun safety tips

  • Slip on protective clothing
  • Slop on minimum SPF30 broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen
  • slap on a broad-brimmed hat
  • seek shade
  • slide on wrap-around sunnies

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