Hi, my name is Andrew.
Outdoorsy, open minded & happy.
Today, I'm big advocate for sun safety, so I'm very proactive with looking after my skin. I wear long sleeved Solbari shirts and long pants whenever I'm outside, with SPF50+ sunscreen on my face and neck, and a broad brim hat! It's just become part of the morning ritual like brushing your teeth.
I'm always pushing my friends and family to be more sun safe, I think most know the effects of the sun, but not to the extent they should. Most don't seem to understand the UV index, and how quickly you can get burnt in the middle of the day. There's still a long way to go for sun safety education!
I'm 28, I've never had skin cancer, but I didn't want a diagnosis to be the catalyst to start being more sunsafe. It's never too early or too late to look after your skin.
I'd probably tell myself to listen to my parents more. As a young child my parents always made sure us kids were very well covered up. We would always have to wear sunscreen when going out for longer periods in the sun, and if we were at the beach, we'd be wearing the full length head-to-toe sun suits, which apparently got a lot of funny looks from other parents!
As I grew older, I swapped the sun suit for some board shorts & a rash shirt. But a lot of the time it was just the shorts. Unfortunately when you're a teenager, you're a bit more concerned with what other people think of you.
These days I'm confident covering up when outside. I now go to the beach wearing long swimming tights & a long sleeve rashie, and just laugh a little to myself thinking how I'd feel wearing this at 16. It's a good feeling knowing you're looking after yourself, reducing your risk of skin cancer, and premature ageing.
I'm glad I've started looking after my skin though my own choice now, and I'd definitely tell my 16 year old self to look after yourself, and don't worry about what others are wearing!
Thank you Andrew for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
The Solbari Team
Your skin is your largest organ and has a long memory. Sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) damage is cumulative throughout your life. Research shows that sun damage contributes to more than 90% of wrinkles, brown spots, premature skin ageing as well as precancerous and cancerous skin lesions.
It is very difficult to the untrained eye to identify melanomas and skin cancers because they can come in many different shapes and sizes.
As Associate Professor Rosemary Nixon from the Skin & Cancer Foundation Inc. says, "the earlier a skin cancer is identified and treated, the better the chance of avoiding surgery, or in the case of a serious melanoma or skin cancer, potential disfigurement or even death."