About 15 years ago I came up in a rash all over my body after being at the beach. After several months I was diagnosed with Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE). At first I avoided the sun like a vampire, but that meant missing out on activities I enjoy, like horse riding, swimming, playing outside with the dog. I now do lots of outside activities but I cover myself head to toe with sun protective clothing and sunscreen.
I moved to Australia over 10 years ago. I grew up in northern Europe and it took me a few years to re-calibrate my inner compass and my approach to sun protection! At first I was not paying any attention to Australian sun at all. Once I learned about the risks, my attitude change 180 degrees.
My level of sun exposure as a child was relatively low however I did use a sunbed from time to time back in the 1980's when it was recommended that you prepare your skin before heading over to Europe! How wrong was that advice!
My mum, dad and mother and father in law have ALL had sun cancers or sun spots removed. I see so many people of their generation having similar treatments. Now that we have a better understanding of the dangers, our younger generation can protect themselves better - especially with more choices of sun protection methods!
Living in Queensland, being a mother of three fair-skinned, freckly red-headed children (all currently under the age of five) and having had a sun spot recently removed from my face, I take sun protection much more seriously than ever before.
I guess as you get older you realise health is everything. Nowadays when we have the precious grandchildren I am the first to put hats on them and sunscreen. When I was, younger there was no awareness of skin cancers.
In my mid-twenties, I saw my darling grandmother lose large parts of her nose to skin cancer, which made me think more carefully about how much sun exposure I was receiving. I decided to start getting regular skin checks and encouraged my family to do so too.
Having sun sensitive skin, sun protection is very important as I noticed more and more moles appear in recent years in my neck and chest areas. I have to freeze some of them as they grow big with constant itchiness. I also developed chronic skin rash on leg areas which affect daily life badly.