Did I ever tell you my hair saved my life? Whoops, I need to backtrack slightly… Let me explain for those who don’t know me, I have incredibly curly hair. At worst, it’s blatant frizz, at best it’s little wirey ringlets (more the latter in Auckland’s frickin’ humidity). Where it comes from, nobody knows… but it’s there, everyday, on my head doing its thing…

Now, I can carry on… Did I ever tell you my hair saved my life? As a nipper a glass door fell over me, but I wasn’t hurt – my hair saved my life as it acted as a protective helmet. My parents ended up picking the glass shards out of my head, but I was unharmed. Thank you hair, you caused me some grief over the years, but because of this one event, I’m always grateful…

Likewise, I have been looking for a sun hat, to save my life… well, kind of, you see New Zealand has VERY high levels of UV radiation, which according to the New Zealand Cancer Society is the probable cause of over 90% of all skin cancer cases in New Zealand. As summer UV intensities are high due to low ozone and clean air, and because the earth is closer to the sun, New Zealand has very high skin cancer rates – in fact it has the highest in the world. Other damage by UV radiation includes cataracts, premature ageing of the skin (some older people have very wrinkly skin here), and even immune suppression.

When we first arrived here I remember the sun feeling ‘different’. In direct sunlight there is an odd sensation, which I never experienced when we lived in the UK, and I suspect it’s UV radiation burning the skin. I need an expert to answer that one….

So, what can you do to protect yourself? According to the Cancer Society of New Zealand, we need to do the following from September to April, especially between 10am to 4pm:

Slip – on a shirt with collar and sleeves
Slop – on broad spectrum Sun Protection Factor (SPF) 30+ sunscreen
Slap – on a hat with a wide brim
Wrap – on sun glasses
Stay in the shade.

Simple really. Hence my hat, which like my hair could in a way save my life.

So, Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap and Stay in the shade folks the sun is here.

Family, when you visit – we will take great pleasure in slip, slop, and slapping you if you don’t do it yourself!

Useful links below:
1. Position statement by the NZ Cancer Asociety

2. FAQs by the NZ Cancer Society

Oh, yes, and here is my lovely new hat with protector flaps up, and protector flaps down…