What is your name?
Hi, my name is Barbara Picton.
Sun-lover in my seventies.
As a teenager growing up in England my favourite summer pastime was sunbathing with friends as we happily fried ourselves in baby oil – well it was proven to provide us with the most amazing golden tan! Moving on and choosing to follow the sun, I lived in South Africa for many years and finally settled in Canada. True, not as much sun, but enjoying the west coast I have spent many hours out on the water, sail boat racing and cruising the islands, enjoying that sun shine reflecting off the water.
For a while I did have some insight and bought a sun protector shirt for sailing, but it was too hot and the breeze and warmth of sun on my bare skin was too seductive, so I let it go. While Vancouver is beautiful, it is not the sunniest place on earth and my holidays of choice are sun drenched locations in Hawaii and Mexico where feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin is heaven. To keep that sense of heaven, in our summer I am out by the pool at our condo as soon as the sun is out and it is warming up. Cold weather is not for me.
Now, I have always been very protective of my skin – have prided myself on always using SPF 30 (once I got rid of the baby oil) but skin to the sun is the only way to go – no protective clothing for me. But summer moves into winter and as the suntan wears off I have been slowly willing to recognise more blotches and brown patches – commonly known as skin damage! Obviously the best way to hide the damage is to find more sun and keep that tan alive.
What is your attitude towards sun protection today?
Wisdom finally arrives and this year I am ready to accept I have been extremely lucky to have not developed skin cancers (to date). And I am willing to start to take better care. My doctor did help and gave me the lecture but luckily vanity has a louder voice. I look at two very good friends who have always avoided sun and their skins are beautifully clear (albeit very ‘white’) and their wrinkles are 1000% less than mine. (Darn!).
What would you tell your 16 year old self about sun protection?
Now I have the hindsight I would certainly tell my 16 year-old self she will age more gracefully by covering up in the sun. I’d say – look at me now and use that social media to research the damage the sun will ravage on your body and take better care of yourself than I have. Heading off on a Panama Canal cruise in a few weeks I took heed of the need for more protection than SPF 30 and I have just bought a sun shirt, hat and visor from Solbari, which I have promised myself I will wear. As for the future, I know both Hawaii and Mexico have shady umbrellas and palm trees to relax under – I’ll be listening out for them calling my name.
Thank you Barbara for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.