Coming to terms with 50.
Sun block and sun protection are second nature for me and have been for the last 20 years. I wear a hat, wear sunglasses, always cover my arms and wear sunscreen on my neck in particular. I've bought a few Solbari and other similar products lately that are making me more comfortable in the sun.
When I swim in the backyard though, after 4pm there is shade so in fact it's great to reduce the layers and enjoy the water on my skin. I think I link sun protection more to ageing than to skin cancer, I don't know if this is good or bad but I at least know I'm being careful both ways and I notice what's happening to my skin.
Protect your back more when you're swimming, for god sake don't worry about getting a tan cos it always fades, and find clothes that are comfortable and look nice and still keep you covered. Mostly just keep doing what you're doing.
One day you'll be 50 and you'll be so glad you were careful with your face and neck. Take care of your skin will ensure there's one less thing you're going to regret. People will make fun of you, ask you if you're cold or something, mock your hat or outfit. Don't engage and just accept that it's important to you and you don't need to explain yourself.
Always have sunblock with you in case you get caught and offer it to others to help them out. Watch your friends and families too, help them be more sun smart too, prevent them getting sunburned otherwise you'll feel so guilty! They'll thank you for it and you'll be doing a small kind thing for your fellow man.
Protect your hands more than you have although that's a difficult one. Hard to wear gloves and not have people look at your weirdly. Design your own sun smart clothing and start a business because you won't always be able find what you're looking for and you know what works best. Keep a hat in your bag and in the car, make it a nice one, something that suits you and looks cool so you don't mind wearing it.
Find the best sunblock around, testing them all out, find the best and stick to it. Try finding a cruelty free version if that's possible. But don't let any of this prevent you being adventurous and being in the world. Hike, travel, ski, swim, climb and just see protecting your skin as second nature.
Thank you Belinda for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
The Solbari Team
Australian rules football coach and former player Jarryd Roughead took the time to answer our questions about his experience with skin cancer.
This blog post compares the protection offered by normal clothes and UPF clothes in order to understand the importance of sun protective clothing.