My name is Tammy L Wong and at present, I live in London.
Growing up, I was the quintessential tomboy and spent a lot of time playing outdoors with my cousins and brother. In the 70s-80s there was hardly any awareness about sun protection in my native Singapore. Singapore is also a tropical country, the sun shines throughout the year.
Two events that shaped me and jolted the need for more active sun protection were when I discovered dance, and at 14, cast as the face of a popular Japanese facial soap, 'Kao Biore'. Between 1985- c.1990, I was the 'Kao Biore' girl. The image of me washing my face could be found in local newspapers, magazines, periodicals, on television, and at the cinema.
Because of my dance pursuits and the modelling work, I learnt the importance of good skincare, and the reality of too much sun exposure. My pursuits necessitated that I remained as fair-skinned as possible, preferably unblemished as well. I took great care to stay out of the sun, or if I had no choice and had to be outdoors, would simply cover myself up carefully. These habits have followed me into adulthood.
My attitude towards sun protection may seem fanatical to some. In London, I am outdoors every day in all sorts of weather to exercise my horse and my dog. I wear long-sleeved clothing no matter the season, I cover my face with a hat and a balaclava when horse-back riding.
Admittedly, I even put on 3 layers of sunblock beneath the balaclava or a large pair of sunglasses. It was the heatwave last summer that encouraged my discovery of Solbari. I needed my clothing to shield me from the scorching sun. Skin is the largest organ in our body. I have no hesitation protecting it with any means available.
To my younger self, I would say, keep up the good work; for now at 48 years old, I am the expression of what it means to be living midlife, and ageing with grace.
Image credit: Davina Grundemann-Falkenberg
Thank you Tammy for helping raise awareness for skin cancer, melanoma and skin conditions, and sharing your story with us and our Solbari Community.
The Solbari Team
Over the coming weeks, we will be publishing some stories from the Solbari Community to help raise awareness about skin cancer, melanoma and sun protection.
If you are interested in sharing your story, please answer the following questions from the relevant questionnaire and send us a picture of yourself being sun safe in the outdoors.
I grew up thinking pale was beautiful till I started university in the mid 70s. Then I took a U turn and decided a tanned look would make me look more attractive. I went all out achieving a tanned look, lying out in the sun during the summer holidays, after my summer job hours and all weekends. That went on for many years.