8 ways to be more sun smart (and my confession of slackness and bribery…)

By Andrea Michelle


We’re all well aware that we should wear sunscreen every day, right? But how many of us actually do?

I’ll be the first to confess, I’ve slackened off over the last year or so.

I used to be that girl who’d only use face and body moisturisers with at least SPF 30 daily, and a foundation with similar protection all year round, not just summer.

And I used to be vigilant about slathering sunscreen over the exposed body parts of my boys every day when they were tiny, but since they’ve both started school I’ve slackened off.

Sun protection has become one of those things I know I should be doing daily – like flossing – but these days I’m pretty much only getting out the sunscreen when I know I’m facing a big day under the rays.

Writing this I feel kind of ashamed as I know I know better, and I’m well aware of the risks sun damage can have on our skin from pigmentation to skin cancer – I bet you are too.


Recently I chatted with Ken Lee the skin care expert at NIVEA and he shared his top 8 Sun Expert Tips:


1. Choose a sunscreen that has a broad spectrum of protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Remember UVA is about ageing (depleting collagen, causing fine lines, wrinkles and freckles, to name a few of those tell take signs) and UVB is about burning


2. SPF measures how long it takes for skin to show signs of burning. SPF 30 means it takes 30 times longer for your skin to burn, SPF 50 means it takes 50 times longer for your skin to burn


3. Apply sun screen 20 minutes before exposure to the sun

If we’re going to the beach for instance, I’ll get everyone to change into their swimsuits, crank up the tunes and get us to all meet in the bathroom. We take in turns standing in the tub while someone else is spraying us all over with sunscreen.

Sure, there’s a fair bit of sunscreen over the tiles by the end of it (usually because some kind of hilarious ‘Sunscreen War’ breaks out) but at least this way I’m confident that we’re all covered adequately and the sunscreen has been absorbed by our skin before we’re in direct sunlight.


making a game out of applying sunscreen with kids


4. You need to apply approximately 35ml of sun screen to adequately cover an average adult body – that’s around the volume of a shot glass

Because we use a pump pack at home I’ve figured out that’s about 10-15 pumps for each different part of my body e.g. face, arms, legs, torso.

With the kids we count it out together as part of our little application game, and then at least they can count down to when it’ll be over and done with. Either way, we’re usually in fits of laughter by the end of it.


5. Reapply sunscreen regularly, at least every 2 hours, and especially after swimming and toweling

I’ve taken to setting an alarm on my phone to remind me to reapply as I’m bound to forget otherwise.


6. Don’t be afraid to ask a friend to help you apply sunscreen to hard-to-reach areas, such as your back and shoulders

Again, my kids kind of hate this, but frankly I bribe them with the promise of an ice cream once we’re out of the house, or let them download a new app straight away, either of which usually does the trick.*


ask someone else apply sunscreen on those hard to reach places


7. Be aware that some medicines can increase your skin’s risk of UV damage. Check with a health care professional if you are taking medication


8. Avoid sun exposure between 11am and 3pm when UV rays are most intense

This isn’t always easy to do, but it’s common sense, right? One thing I like to do with my boys in summer is hit the beach later in the afternoon, packing a picnic dinner and staying on till sunset. That way they get their fun time outside at a safer time of day, and as an added bonus, they’re absolutely exhausted by when we get home which means they crash out as soon as I put them to bed.


Visiting the beach at sunset with children is always fun


77% of Aussies think that they need to be more sun smart**, and if you’re not one of them, your friends and family probably are, so I’d encourage you to circulate this post via the sharing icons below. Because we all need to take care out there.


Remember with sunscreen, always read the label and use only as directed.


Do you have any tips and tricks for getting your kids or loved ones to be more sun smart?

And what kind of bribery is working around your place these days?


*For the record, this post cost me a whopping $12 in app purchases as that’s how much I had to bribe both of my kids to pose for and take the photos in this post. They drive a hard and nasty bargain, and will no doubt grow up to be politicians or gangsters instead of ‘professional gamers’ which they currently aspire to be – yikes!

**Survey by NIVEA.

baby hanger
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  • I have to admit, I’ve been a bit slack lately too – so this is a timely reminder. And wow, your boys are quite the negotiators! Love it. x

    • FoxInFlats

      They are too funny Sonia, and I wonder where they got their negotiating skills from – ha ha ha!

  • I’ve started wearing tinted sunscreen rather than BB cream as a foundation base and am feeling good about it; no more burnt nose tips or hideous sunglasses eyemask this year! Toddler is pretty good about sunscreen so I’m hoping to drill it into her from an early age that it’s a necessity for being outside like they do at childcare.

    • FoxInFlats

      That’s a great idea Beth. And yes, the more we can educate them early the easier. I showed my boys the video and they got it – they were mesmerised!

  • Kathryn

    Hmmmm at the risk of sounding like a grandma (which I am) don’t end like me, wishing you had worn sunscreen vigilantly. I was a teen in the 70’s and have the sun damage to prove it! These days it’s 50+ all the way xx

    • FoxInFlats

      Well you certainly dont look like a grandma! I’ve got some sundamage on my cheeks (pigmentation) and just had a laser treatment to remove – will be writing a post about that today. Am looking forward to the results!

  • Shell from SewEnSow

    This is a topic I’m passionate about, and in addition to sunscreen it’s important to cover up with clothing, hats, sunglasses and of course shade! And not just kids, mummies need to lead by example, especially with the sunsmart hat wearing

    • FoxInFlats


  • merliyn

    always a good reminder andrea! this is so important in aus where the beach means summer!
    we have small boys staying here at the moment and it’s cream on before we go anywhere!
    one day though we didn’t think there was much sun around and they were in the water for sometime and they had the tinge of pink! so it was out with the aloe vera which works beautifully!
    I cover up and I have a sunbella which I won from ‘agent mystery case”! … lovely! … enjoy the beach! m:)X

    • FoxInFlats

      Indeed trying to stay in the shade is essential!

  • Jaime

    Such a good reminder! I used to be very slack until I became a mum and I suddenly realized I needed to be more motivated. Even took all the fam to have their moles checked at the docs, definitely worth doing and always making sure we cover up. We live in the skin cancer capital of the world with our lack of ozone layer, so not worth the risk!

    • FoxInFlats

      Oh yes, good reminder, to have moles checked – I must do this – thanks for that!

  • sarah

    My bribe goes a bit like this: “Put the sunscreen on, or, no swimming. Your choice” 99.9% success rate

    • FoxInFlats

      Straightforward! I like it!