Putting on sunscreen wasn't always about protection.
Once the plan was to get tanned all golden brown, as everyone seemed to desire. To be fair and lightly dusted with freckles was beyond the pale.
When you recall, for anyone old enough, those lotions sitting on pharmacist and supermarket shelves in the 1970s, the brand names unwittingly forewarned bad tidings.
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We had Coppertone, which promised "a fast, dark tan for most skin types," with its ubiquitous advertising artwork of a scruffy little dog pulling down the swimmers of a small child to reveal her megaphone-white derriere.
Hawaiian Tropic's "dark tanning oil" said it all, while the sickly sweet, wafting aroma of Reef coconut oil could still take many back to such hatless, hazy days.
The reality back then was the desperation to get such a "healthy" glow often was in vain, replaced by the discomfort of burnt skin that inevitably peeled-off in flaky, translucent sheets - with a fresh batch soon ready for the next early-afternoon baking, a sun-worshipper cooled down only by the odd Sunny Boy or Eskimo Pie
We knew, even as kids, that it probably wasn't good for us, but that's the way it was before "slip, slop, slap" began making sun-safe inroads in the 1980s.
Before long, factor-15 sunscreen and hats were getting a look-in, but even today the message doesn't always get through.
For Bullio cattle farmer Dennis Hortin, protecting your skin wasn't something you forgot to do; it was something that just wasn't done.
Now, at 66, he has had to endure the consequences with the diagnosis of skin cancer - in fact, 200 on his face and body, including an especially nasty one that spread to his jaw - and the intense treatment that required.
He has come out the other end in good shape, thanks to specialist radiation sessions, and with a far greater insight than many as to why being sun-smart continues to be so critical - especially given that 400 Victorians die every year from the disease.
His message, as Skin Cancer Action Week gets under way on Monday, is to cover-up and to be vigilant with skin checks.
Do this and you might well save your life.
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