Hi, my name is Kate.
I love being around animals and the outdoors.
About 15 years ago I came up in a rash all over my body after being at the beach. After several months I was diagnosed with Subacute cutaneous lupus erythematosus (SCLE) - an autoimmune disorder that causes skin lesions, joint pain and other soft tissue problems. Exposure to sunlight and UV rays causes the disease to flare up. A flare up can feel a bit like a flu where you feel tired and achy and out of sorts as well as the rash.
At first I avoided the sun like a vampire, but that meant missing out on activities I enjoy, like horse riding, swimming, playing outside with the dog.
I now do lots of outside activities but I cover myself head to toe with sun protective clothing and sunscreen. I keep UV sleeves and an easy zip-up swim top in the car for driving. I also get my skin checked every year for any nasties.
If I had been able to live a day in my current skin when I was 16 and seen all of the wrinkles and spots, I hope I would have thought twice about trying to get a tan. In some ways I wish I had found out about my lupus earlier so I could have protected myself from the sun sooner and had less aged skin in my 50s.
What is so great these days is you see a lot of people taking better care of their skin in the sun. Having fair un-freckled skin is starting to be more attractive than having a tan, especially once you are a bit older, and the effects of those days of sunbaking start to show.
I am very glad to see how conscious parents are about not letting their kids get burnt these days. There is really no need for anyone to be self-conscious about covering up whether they are at the beach or in the car.
Whether you cover up for modesty, or to protect your skin from ageing, or to prevent a future melanoma, I think the end result is that be fewer people will have their lives impacted by skin cancer and that is a great thing.
Pictured: This is me in mylong-sleeve, high-collar Solbari top with sunscreen on, getting ready to go horse-riding.
Thank you Kate for helping raise awareness for lupus, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
The Solbari Team
Regular summer clothes might have an Ultra Protection Factor rating (UPF) as low as 5.
A UPF of 5 provides little sun protection and lets large amounts of sunlight and UV rays pass through. This can lead to skin damage, premature skin ageing, skin cancer and melanoma.
The Skin Cancer Foundation recommends sun protective clothing as the best way to protect your skin against the sun's damaging rays. SOLBARI UPF50+ garments provide the highest sun protection rating for fabrics and block out 98% of harmful UV rays.