Sun Safety Essentials!


I am thrilled to be attending my first Mom 2.0 Summit at the end of the month! Bloggers from all over the country and even Canada are gathering in Scottsdale to share ideas and inspiration. I am lucky enough to live in Arizona so I can drive with some friends to attend!

I know many people are looking forward to soaking up our beautiful Arizona warmth and weather! And by golly, we look forward to sharing it! But, there is danger associated with our sunshine I’ve faced firsthand.

I am a fair-skinned red-head and grew up in Arizona. I wore sunscreen most of the time, never laid out in the sun nor went near a tanning bed. Yet, the UV is so extreme in Arizona, I ended up being diagnosed with melanoma (the bad skin cancer) at age 29.

I’ve been on a 6-year journey battling lung and brain tumors and want everyone to avoid what I’ve been through. Here are some tips so you can enjoy our beautiful weather and avoid injuring your own skin and risking your health.

Who wants cancer or to look old prematurely?
Not you?
I thought so.

Slip, Slap, Slop and Seek Shade

UV levels are highest between 10am and 4pm. I looked up the UV levels at the Phoenician over the next 4 days. You can clearly see from the image below when you need to use sun protection!

UV levels in Phoenix April 2015

My mantra for when I teach sun safety for children is, Slip on a shirt, Slap on a hat and sunglasses, Slop on sunscreen and Seek shade outside!

Slip on a shirt

Clothing is foolproof protection from the sun. No need to reapply. You should be cautious about sheer clothing, if you can see the sun through it, it isn’t going to protect you unless it is labeled as having UPF (built in sunscreen.) You probably don’t need specific UPF clothing for this trip unless you are planning to go hiking or on the golf course tour offered on Wednesday.

Slap on a hat and sunglasses

A hat and sunglasses are invaluable if you are going to sit by the pool or go shopping (most malls in Phoenix are outdoors) or even eat lunch outside! Melanoma can begin in the eyes, and you want to keep those babies, so protect them! And who wants to look older before their time with wrinkles due to the sun? Prevention is worth the effort.

Slop on Sunscreen

Sunscreen is probably the most important item for sun safety to pack in your bag! Make sure the sunscreen you bring is labeled “broad spectrum.” It needs to be SPF30 or higher. It is also important to read the instructions on the bottle!

Many people don’t realize chemical sunscreens don’t begin working until 15 minutes after application. For me, that delay in protection translates to a burn! For other skin types, it means unintentional exposure to UV radiation. The UVA radiation causes aging (even if you don’t see the immediate effects); UVB radiation causes burning.

There are many sunscreens I love, but some of my very favorites are

  • Blue Lizard
  • Elta MD
  • Supergoop
  • Neutrogena

Sunscreen also MUST be reapplied throughout the day. The general guideline is every 2 hours or 80 minutes in the water. Will I reapply when sitting inside during the conference? No way! But if I decide to eat lunch outside, I sure will reapply!

Seek shade

The skin never forgets the damage done to it.

That wide brimmed hat you slap on, provides shade you can take anywhere. I also often carry an umbrella for shade. Find an umbrella or ramada for poolside! Public areas in Arizona usually provide lots of shaded seating!

‘Give me a break, Martha. It’s just one weekend’, you say?

The Skin Cancer Foundation states that a person’s risk for skin cancer doubles with 5 or more burns. This is over a lifetime. So yes, one burn a year on vacation or at a blog conference is dangerous. The skin never forgets the damage done to it.

There is no need to fear the sun, but enjoy it wisely!

I hope to meet you while at Mom 2.0! Leave a comment and share your favorite sunscreen, or come find me in person and sample one of my favorites! I’ll be the redhead wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunnies!


Read 2 comments

  1. I’m SO sorry to hear about your health struggles!!!! I love the sun, and use it as treatment for my skin conditions (Dr prescribed!). I’ll definitely come by and say hi, and give a few of your favorites a try! I generally use Babyganics (stolen from my kids) when I need to!

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