What is your name?
My name is Maria.
Describe yourself in 3 to 5 words:
Easy-going, fun-loving, happy and content.
What is your occupation?
I work in customer service at a hotel chain. I love my work and it allows me to meet many fascinating people. There's never a dull moment and no day is the same!
How did you discover your skin condition and how long ago?
I have some skin damage from when I was younger and quite clueless about sun protection. For the last 10 years, I've been much more careful about the sun, pretty much applying sunscreen whenever I go out and buying high-quality, sun protective clothing. I have been a Solbari customer for a while now and I've learnt a lot just by reading an occasional email from the company.
What is your attitude towards sun protection today?
I stay indoors and avoid the sun unless I really need to go out. No more just hanging out in the garden without any cover. No more spending hours on the beach, in the full sun. I used to think that a tanned body is more attractive, so I was trying to tan whenever I could, especially since I'm naturally quite pale. Believe me, having a nice tan is not worth it if you damage your skin and risk getting skin cancer.
I use the SunSmart app on my phone, which tells me the UV factor every day. It's really good to see what hours I can just go out without sunscreen or a hat and when I need to be more careful.
I also use Solbari sleeves and gloves when I drive, especially during long car trips around the summer holidays. It's so much easier than re-applying sunscreen, worrying about stains, or having oily hands. I can simply enjoy being outside much more when I can just put on my sun protective shirt and pants and not worry as much about covering myself in sunscreen!
What would you tell your 16-year-old self about taking care of your skin and sun protection?
It's never too early to start taking care of your skin - your older self will be very grateful if you start right away! Don't buy into believing that you need to be nicely tanned at all times. You will be much better off avoiding sun, skin damage and premature wrinkles. Not to mention the risk of getting skin cancer.
Thank you Maria for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.