Sun Exposure: Because Pool Safety Isn’t All About Water.
Posted on 07 February 2017
Pool safety isn’t all about water. There’s something else you need to be mindful of. In fact, I’ll take a bet that you are already really diligent at protecting your kids against this. But, are you protecting yourself? Are you setting a good example for you kids? Yup, I’m taking about… Sun exposure.
Do you really know how to Slip! Slop! Slap! the right way?
As a mum, I am really great at making my kids wear rashies and hats and sunscreen. But when it came to protecting my own skin, like so many other things, I didn’t enforce the same sun-safe rules for myself. “No hat no play” I’d repeat daily, while only sometimes wearing a hat myself *covers face in disgust*.
Mums are notoriously great at putting ourselves last. But, when it came to protecting my skin from sun exposure, it’s not like this is what I was trying to do. I have the type of skin that burns, so I wasn’t actively tanning. The issue was that, despite growing up with the Cancer Council’s Slip! Slop! Slap! message, I didn’t really know how to Slip! Slop! Slap! properly.
I don’t get burnt wearing a t-shirt, so why is this important?
I hear this a lot. First up – bless you, you lucky thing for not turning into a lobster every time you walk out of the house. But, and this ‘but’ is important, that doesn’t make you exempt from suffering from serious consequences caused by excessive sun exposure.
Australia is the skin cancer capital of the world. At least two in three Australians will be diagnosed with skin cancer by the age of 70. The major cause, up to 90-95%, of skin cancer is related to sun exposure.
So, while you might not feel a burn or see a tan, your skin is being impacted by sun exposure. And what’s really scary is that the damaged done by exposing your skin is cumulative over your lifetime. So, by continually exposing your skin, you are continually adding to your risks of skin ageing and skin cancer.
So, as Renée Rouleau so eloquently puts it “Be good to your skin. You’ll wear it every day for the rest of your life”.
But how do I look after my skin?
Yes, we all love our t-shirts, flowy kaftans and oh-so-versatile sarongs. Personally, my sarong used to double as a cover up, tablecloth, towel, and burping cloth all on the same day. But did you know, that the average white cotton t-shirt only has a UPF (Ultraviolet Protection Factor) of about 5?
This means that it allows 1/5th of the sun’s UV (Ultraviolet) rays to pass through. It is these UV rays, which are not blocked by cloud coverage, and that causes sunburn, premature skin ageing, wrinkles and potentially skin cancer.
Please, tell everyone you know, the Cancer Council’s Slip Slop Slap message is NOT being fulfilled by slipping on clothing of just any description. You need to be wearing clothing that has been specifically designed to protect you from the sun – like the rashies we make our kids wear.
When chosen and used correctly, sun protective clothing is the best form of sun protection you can find. So, for your peace of mind, in addition to all the other sun safe practices you’ve been using to protect yourself (and your kids!), try slipping on a rashie yourself! Trust me; it doesn’t have to be tight fitting or ugly!