Walk into a New Zealand school, and the first thing you’ll notice (bar the frenzied kids screaming around the place) will be posters advocating “Slip, slop, slap.” Surprisingly it’s not an 80’s disco tune, but an Australasian health campaign to protect kids from the ravages of sun damage.
Disclaimer: I was an invited guest of the Cadogan Clinic but all of
my very, very many thoughts and laboured metaphors are only ever my own…
It is for good reason – the ozone layer protecting delicate Australasian skin from damaging the ever present sun rays has had a hole in it since before I was a child (many, many moons ago) and though changes of behaviour has resulted in this planetary problem reducing, it still means that we face a higher chance of our skin going, well, bad. But, it isn’t just us antipodeans who need to think about what we’re doing to our skin.
Close to my heart my Dad is a prime example of this, having worked outside for most of his life (in between chasing us kids into behaving) and over the years has had several melanomas removed from his face, chest and legs. Luckily they were Basal Cell carcinomas which are non-cancerous but are still rather scary – especially when you live on the other side of the world. Because of his experiences and our family’s tendency to freckle, not to mention my incredible fair husband, skin care is something that worries me a lot. Making a few small changes such as wearing a moisturiser with an SPF, wearing shoes (us Kiwis tend to avoid the leather devices of torture – but anyone who has burnt the soles of their feet will understand) and trying to avoid sitting in direct sunshine for too long seems to help (not to mention avoid over-saturation in my photos #bloglife.)
But, there are 4 specific ways that skin can be protected from UV for the long haul – even on grey days.
Slip on a shirt
I have visions of a softly lit columnade, flowing tousled locks with the perfect salt water texture as she stalks along the glorious tiles (only stopping for the requisite #shoefie) with a softly textured sarong around her hips and an oversized men’s shirt artfully dishevelled on her shoulders. Sexy selfie sorted and sun safe. Boom.
Slop on sunscreen
Because everyone needs an excuse to call over the gorgeous pool boy – that is unless becoming the orange-peel skinned, tango tanned Grandma in Benidorm is in your #lifegoals – hotdog legs need regular applications of the highest SPF sunscreen you can find. I always joke that when on holiday my skin goes from London Blue to normal hued when let out into European sunshine, but that’s what snapchat filters were invented for amiright?
See look – freckle, freckle, freckle… some call them fairy kisses but I’m not so convinced…
Slap on a hat
Perched over the corner of a cheekily winking pair of sunnies, slanted just so for the panache of a magazine covergirl, a beautiful hat is necessary to tell your beau to ‘draw me like one of your French girls’ (name that film) and cover all the sensitive spots.
Keep an eye on existing freckles and moles
We’ve all got them (well at least in my family – I’ve even got a freckle on the palm of my hand) and the key is to make sure that they aren’t changing or looking irritated – it can be the first sign of a problem. I was invited to the lovely, discreet Cadogan Clinic for a session with their consultant dermatologist who took an up close look at all of my beauty spots and then a photographic mole map to refer back to in a couple of years. With an exclusive stamp of approval by the British Skin Foundation, if there are any urgent issues they are able to remove problems onsite the same day.
Slip, slop, slap, Sloane Square? Too cheesy?
From the moment I stepped through the door to bounding out
happy to not have any worry-some spots, it was more of a pleasant
experience than any doctors appointment I’ve ever experienced. Hopping
into a hospital gown and running through out family history as the consultant
scanned me with a dermatoscope, the chat soon turned to travel in the
Chelsea surgery, before I was handed to their (kiwi!) nurse for the mole
mapping – essentially high-res photo session. And the unintended benefit? I went to dinner that night and passed on dessert which I put down entirely to getting my kit off in front of two lovely strangers.
The moral of the story? Look after your skin – you’ll have it for many, many years to come.