For me, despite being vigilant growing up in the 'slip slop slap' era with caring parents and being a responsible young adult, my cancer progressed - partly because of my high-risk skin. I really want everyone to take sun safety seriously because it is preventable if you are cautious and get regular skin checks.
I'm big advocate for sun safety, so I'm very proactive with looking after my skin. I'm always pushing my friends and family to be more sun safe, I think most know the effects of the sun, but not to the extent they should. Most don't seem to understand the UV index, and how quickly you can get burnt in the middle of the day. There's still a long way to go for sun safety education!
Sun protective clothing is synonymous with dull and boring outfits. Being an active outdoor person, I have found my white knight Solbari. The Solbari sun hat is my angel guarding my face, in the disguise of a fashion hat.
My melanoma was initially on the white of the eye, it started off as a red spot that looked like a burst blood vessel... something my mum noticed when I was young and although we asked about it over the years no one seemed to be phased. When I was in my later teens the spot had become highly vascularised, raised and red, and I was sent to an ophthalmologist, where I had a biopsy done, this came back as benign.
Having grown up in a very active family, from a very early age I was participating in team sports whether it be football, tee-ball or cricket. My parents taught me the importance of using sun cream and zinc to protect my face, but also the benefit of wearing a long sleeve shirt to cover my arms, and a bucket hat or broad brim hat to keep the sun off my neck and ears.
I am a happy teenager focused on what I can do and enjoy in my life, rather than stress about the medical conditions I have or the foods and things I cannot have. Thank you Solbari for this opportunity to be an advocate for the skin condition atopic dermatitis and for other sufferers of this skin condition in the community.
These days I am obsessed with sun protection. My regime in recent years has been so effective that people often remark on how good my skin looks, which is quite the compliment for someone who is 50-something and raised in Australian conditions.
It's never too early to start taking care of your skin - your older self will be very grateful if you start right away! Don't buy into believing that you need to be nicely tanned at all times. You will be much better off avoiding sun, skin damage and premature wrinkles. Not to mention the risk of getting skin cancer.