Saturday, 18 June 2011

Do you wear sun cream or baby oil??

I listened to a radio article the other day that left me with my jaw scraping along the floor in astonishment. The reporter was asking people about their use of sun cream, both for themselves and their children. It was a subject I am interested in as I have always been a bit fanatical about using sun cream for both myself and my boys.

Most of the people they asked seemed to think that they didn't need to wear sun cream unless they were abroad on holiday, and even then they were wearing low factors. One woman even said that she just put on baby oil ... baby oil??? I couldn't believe it.

I have always had skin that tans easily - I usually am quite an olivey colour, but I always wear sun cream on my face - factor 25 at least and on my body I wear either factor 30 - 50. I sometimes feel a bit embarrassed that people might think I don't wear sun cream, but as I spend so much time outdoors - either running or on the allotment, I do tend to have a rugged 'outdoorsy' look !!!!

The other day I saw a young boy I know whose legs were horribly sun burned. He always, at the first sign of sunny weather, gets burnt. Its not his fault is it? Its his parents' fault. I can't quite believe in this day and age that any parent can allow their child to get burnt.

I don't want to sound sanctimonious about this, but its so important. And its not expensive to put a t shirt on your child - a hat. Supermarkets sell their own brand creams and sprays at a fraction of the price of the more well known brands. Its just about getting into the habit and realising that its a really essential thing to do. The sun can do so much damage without you even realising, so to get into the habit of putting on sun cream can only be a good thing.

Of course there are stories of children suffering from lack of sunshine... over molly coddled kids who rarely go out or who are so drenched in total block that they develop deficiencies caused by lack of vitamin D. I am not saying that that's the kind of thing we should be heading for! My kids spend most of their time outside - on their bikes, playing football, running about...

But what every parent should avoid is allowing their kids to get burnt, pink or affected by the sun in any adverse way. By refusing to use sun cream themselves, or by using low factors or sun beds ( a whole different post, don't even get me started ) people are setting a really bad example. Its about living a healthy lifestyle and being aware of the dangers without being paranoid.

I think most people are aware and hopefully most people protect both themselves and their children. But when I saw that little boy the other day, with his calves and shoulders red and peeling and heard the woman on the radio saying that she used only baby oil - I just felt appalled. I could have posted photos of people suffering from skin cancers, but I don't think that's necessary - is it? 


Gail said...

My sister used to use baby oil to enhance her tanning long before we knew the danger of UV rays.

Eve said...

I remember using baby oil in the '70's, that was way before we knew of any dangers from UV I use sun screen on sunny days..they say to use it even on overcast days, but it's usually raining here when it's overcast and I'm so covered up in rain gear I don't see the point of sun screen...I also take Vitamin D supplements, to get Vit.D from the sun they say 20 minutes a day exposure to the sun with unprotected skin is enough to get all the D you need for the day..It is upsetting to see a child so burned when everyone should be aware of the dangers of UV rays..Hope you're well Sarah...hey, I saw Alice Pyne on my Sympatico home page! She's gone viral! I hope she gets to do all of the stuff on her list!

Pauline said...

It wasn’t until the late 1980s that researchers determined that although ultraviolet-B light initiates most skin cancers, ultraviolet-A rays also play a role in promoting skin cancer. By then I'd had more than 15 years running around under a tropical sun. I have olive skin and can't remember ever being sunburnt. For a long time now I've applied sunscreen religiously but the damage has been done. I've just had a sun spot zapped from my nose and accept there will be more. But I'm a pain in the butt where my grandchildren are concerned and nag relentlessly about protecting their skin. There's no excuse for sunburn in this more enlightened age. Sorry about the rant!

Laura R. said...

It's interesting to see that from your perspective, because I live in Egypt where the sun is just a normal part of our daily life, and people here RARELY get sun-burned, we just tan.. so it's uncommon to wear sunscreen when you're going out unless you're by the sea swimming or going to the pool, not normal day-to-day activities.. (although now that I think about it, the times when the sun is really bright are usually too hot to go outside..)

Inkling said...

I have a friend who every day encounters patients who she has to tell a diagnosis of skin cancer. Some are curable, and some have been left so long that it is fatal. I imagine I'll have at least one bout with it thanks to my stubborn teen years where I insisted on trying to tan (as if a pale redhead with freckles and green eyes and practically blue skin can tan). I'm already watching a few places on my face and arms, and have already had a few places removed from my back.

You are right. It is important. My friend would definitely applaud you for believing that way. She hates that part of her job where she has to deliver such bad news, and to think that she has to do it daily boggles my mind.

Caz said...

Great post. Of course, living in Australia, with summer UV levels as high as 11, you'd have to be insane not to wear a hat or sunscreen but unfortunately it's only become a major warning for the last 10 - 15 years. I too am extremely cautious when it comes to sun safety - and my kids really do think I'm insane - so much so that I am Vitamin D deficient. However, I have also recently had an early stage melanoma removed due to my childhood on the beach - unprotected! Take heed!!