Your Story Series: Jonathan Souter

6 min read
Your Story Series: Jonathan Souter
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Tell us about yourself! Your name, what you do for work, your lifestyle.

My name is Jonathan Souter. I have cultivated a deep passion for healthspan and performance over the last decade, which impelled me to gain qualifications in health science and physiotherapy. I will be studying a Doctor of Medicine from February 2022, such is my curiosity with this field. I have lived and worked in both Tokyo Japan and East Arnhem Land Australia, two diametric opposites culturally and environmentally. I loved my time in both. I work mostly for myself, ‘JMS’ consulting, which has a particular focus on men’s health and performance. I also write, podcast, and create content that aims to imbue health and fitness with meaning. Apart from that, I believe in a simple lifestyle that embraces minimalism.

Describe yourself in 3 to 5 words.

Conscientious, authentic, calculated, determined.

What is your attitude towards sun protection?

I believe an inverted U relationship exists with sun exposure and skin health. Small bouts of sun contact for our skin, when the UV is relatively low, is essential for health; however, there is a steep inflection point at which exposure and magnitude of UV is considerably unhealthy for our skin. We need to protect our largest organ.

How was this attitude shaped?

When I was younger, my older sister was always encouraging the family to ‘slip, slop, slap’ and wear sufficient sun-protective clothing. I was vaguely aware of the sun’s damaging effects, but largely dismissed my sister’s suggestions. With time and study of health, I came to realise the validity of her mindset and came to adopt a similar degree of vigilance with sun protection.

In your line of work, or outside of it, how often do you find yourself under the sun? Living in Darwin Northern Territory, where the UV and heat is extreme year-round, I always need to be mindful of sun exposure - even incidental rays while driving, or walking from the carpark to the shops. Besides this, I cycle as my primary mode of commuting so I am constantly subject to the sun.

Do you feel like sun protection is talked about enough in your local community?

No, I don’t. This topic is particularly salient for the community of greater Darwin Northern Territory, with the extreme climate and high proportion of tradespeople spending a lot of time in the sun. The Northern Territory already has a reputation for the highest per capita alcohol consumption in Australia, as well as the lowest average life expectancy (approx. 5 years less than the rest of Australia). There needs to be more awareness and health-related campaigns about sun protection implemented in this community, particularly for demographics not endowed with tanned or darker complexions.

When did you first learn about UPF clothing?

It was through my discovery of Solbari’s products that I first learnt about UPF clothing - it is crazy to think that regular clothing only blocks approximately 80% of UV rays, while UPF clothing blocks up to 98% of UV rays. This disparity can really culminate in significant skin damage over years of frequent sun exposure.

What would you tell your 16-year-old self about sun protection?

To have listened to my sister’s wisdom! And that conscientiousness with sun protection halts photo-ageing of the skin, which is probably a large factor as to why Japanese people generally look far younger than their chronological age.

What are your top tips for sun safety?

Invest in quality, comfortable and versatile sun-protective clothing. Monitor the UV index of your area, and endeavour to expose your skin only when the UV is low to moderate (albeit for short bouts). Get your skin checked by a dermatologist of GP specialising in skin cancer at least once a year.

I was searching extensively for something that could offer cooling thermo-regulation (for hot weather) while covering my skin, until I found Solbari’s UPF50+ Coolasun Collection. I literally wear the base layer long sleeve tee everywhere and for most occasions, including training. It is lightweight, feels amazing on even sensitive skin, breathable (I sweat a lot!), and fits like athletic apparel so complement’s one’s physique. I am not a materialistic person, but I love Solbari’s range.

You can find out more about Solbari's sun protective range by clicking the blue links below:  

Women UPF 50+  

Men UPF 50+  

Sun hats UPF 50+  

Accessories UPF 50+  

Further reading...