• Sunny dilemma

A sunny dilemma

A couple of weeks ago I was on holiday with my family on a paradisiacal piece of earth below the equator. It was warm there, to say the least. As the only options to cool off were either under a palm tree or in the water, we spent a lot of time in the beautiful clear blue sea. However, that is when applying sun protection lapses… I was again reminded when I saw the discussion in the media, this week, about the importance of sun cream.

There are sometimes other priorities

I do, of course, always apply sufficient cream on myself and my children, and I’ve always got UV shirts with me. I spend a lot of tie in the shade and stay out of the sun as much as possible during the hottest part of the day. Sometimes, though, there are other priorities. Such as, a wonderful dolphin watching boat trip at the hottest time of day… I did wear a UV shirt, but I was still a bit lax with applying the sun cream on my forearms. In my haste to get to breakfast that morning I was far too sparing with the sun cream, and didn’t apply any more before we set off on the boat. They way it sometimes goes!

You’ve guessed it, at the end of the day, when I took off my t-shirt, the impression was still left in my skin. I was red and white! Or as my children said: ‘you look like a tri-coloured ice lolly’. They thought it was hilarious and couldn’t wait to share this highly amusing news about their mother with, wait for it, her own non-profit making product and sun campaign to protect children against sun damage!

If it happens to me, it can happen to everyone

Mad with myself, and with a large dose of guilt, came the realisation that if it happens to me, it can, of course, happens to everyone. And that now and then too much sun is just a part of life. Just like that one drink that you should have just left, that time you were too tired to get out of bed to do some exercise, that packet of biscuits that were gone before you knew it and those times when you didn’t react too well with something that didn’t go your way. Of course it was stupid and I should have applied the sun cream more thoroughly, but I wasn’t going to miss this afternoon for anything. The experience was, for that little bit of sun damage and slightly premature skin ageing, worth every penny for me!

The sun also does a lot of good

The moral of this story: if we want our skin to remain healthy and beautiful, then we need to protect it well (especially during childhood). But I see, all too often, people who really are afraid of the sun, which is the other end of the scale. The main thing for us to realise is that if you have been sunburnt once, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will get wrinkles and skin cancer. And that the sun also does us a lot of good.

A bit of pigment protects us from sun damage and it helps with the build-up of vitamin D. And vitamin D is incredibly important for the body, for bone formation, to protect us from heart and vascular disease, (winter) depression, diabetes, neurological disorders, such as MS, and even cancer. Vitamin D is also even important for your skin. The substance protects against sun damage, is also important for wound healing and also has anti-inflammatory properties. There is even a relationship between acne, allergic skin reactions and eczema and a low vitamin D content. And don’t forget, everything looks more cheerful with a bit of sun; well it makes me feel better anyway.

Enjoy the sun, everyone should

Enjoy the sun, everyone should! But, do it with protection if you want your skin to stay healthy and beautiful. And I have decided that if it doesn’t always go as planned, then I’ll have to just accept it. Next time I will try to do my best.

I would love to hear your point of view on this.


Best regards,


Research Physician Cosmetic Dermatology

Related articles  

Vitamin D

The reason for after sun

The Application of Sun Cream; You Probably Apply Less than You Think