This may be your last summer without a little in your household…so…it’s time to ask yourself: Are you currently a Sun Seeker or a Sun Mitigator?
Because heads up: when the baby comes along, you’ll be bombarded with opinions re: how to do “sun protection.” It’s going to be a whole thing and if you’re not mentally making the switch yet, it is definitely time.
I made the switch to Sun Mitigator myself when I started seeing spots on my skin.
Not just brown spots or freckles—which I totally rock—but white spots that were lacking all color, like a reverse freckle*.
It makes sense that I have them, too, because my teenage years were spent outside, hoping to “get a little color” so I could look tan like the rest of the people around me.
I know now that sun damage is cumulative. Most of what I’m seeing on my skin these days is the result of all the sun I drank up 20+ years ago, and while it’s too late to go back and apply sunscreen to my younger self, I definitely am wiling to invest in my future self’s skin health AND in my child’s.
So. With that in mind, and with babies on the brain, I started incorporating three basic habits into my current life:
A hat collection
Zinc oxide-based sunscreens - they’re safe for the littlest littles and the tinted ones blend into your beard/scruff/body hair
Choosing long sleeved UPF/UPV clothing whenever possible so I get protection without chemicals.
Other ways I started living a sun-savvy life:
- I put the sunscreen next to my deodorant, so I remember to apply BEFORE I get dressed, thereby ensuring the best coverage and best chance to use it - plus it has time to soak in and “activate” (which usually takes about 20 minutes).
- I started buying more sunglasses. In fact, sunglasses are everywhere in our house now. I buy cheap ones and nicer ones, just so I always have some available to “casually” throw on when we go outside on a sunny day.
Basically, I integrated suncare into my daily life before the little came along.
Because it’s easier.
It’s easier to establish a healthy habit for the littles, and easy to enforce, too, when you casually make it a habit for yourself first. The little gets their own collection of glasses, hats, and UPF clothing…and their own sunscreen next to their after-bath lotion. Their practices are merely an extension of what you’re already doing.
Taking the “do as I say, not as I do” approach and trying to force compliance while you’re out there soaking up the rays and rebuffing sunscreen offers when you’re out with friends. Double standards don’t work with kids—so being smart about the values approach is key.
Modeling desired behavior is one way to help instill the value system you and your partner have defined for the little roommate in your household.
Daily sunscreen will help in other ways, too:
- It’ll keep you from being a skin cancer statistic.
- You’ll look younger longer.
- It’ll help prevent those brown sunspots that show up on old guys’ —err—elders’ heads.
- Your little one will think suncare is fun, because they see you doing it all the time (and they are tiny little copycats who think you're the coolest person ever).
- You won’t get burned, which means you won’t complain about getting burned or have the associated discomfort/healing time.
- You’ll remember to reapply, because suncare is just something your family does without thinking about it.
Think sunscreen isn’t worth it? A hassle? That your skin tone doesn’t require it?
Mentally fast forward a few years, and imagine yourself or someone you love having a cancerous lesion removed….along with all the surrounding skin and skin layers that may have been impacted. Now explain the terms “surgery” and “skin cancer” in words your three-year-old can understand.
It’s a seriously advanced move, and one that your future self doesn’t need in its life. (Just like it doesn’t need reverse freckles or brown sunspots.)
Think long term, and everyone wins.
Happy Summer -
PS - Get clear on the values and habits you want to instill in your child’s life with the upcoming Parental Mindset Academy - it starts this fall. The waitlist is..umm…waiting for you and you’ll get early news and access to the course. Or hit reply to this email and I’ll be happy to help you with questions.
*”reverse freckles” are actually called hypomelanosis guttate; it’s a v common (and harmless) condition.
NOTE: Our sunscreen is all the same brand and type—we use physical, fragrance free, mineral sunscreen so that when we travel we only have to pack one bottle.
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