I have a confession to make.

I'm not proud of it. It's certainly embarrassing but, for the greater good, I will admit it.

I got sunburned.

No big deal, some might say? Lots of people get sunburned. True. But surely we all should know better? I most definitely should.


Last week I wrote a story about sun safety, and the need to protect yourself from its UV rays. New Zealand has the worst rates of skin cancer in the world, so I had conducted a sunscreen survey and spoke to renowned skin doctor Dr Franz Strydom about the dangers of being too complacent about the sun.

While some of you were reading that very story, I was, very literally, reading a book at the beach, getting roasted.

Not that I knew it at the time.

Sure it was hot, and the sun safety messages from Dr Strydom echoed in my mind, but I had coated myself with plenty of sunscreen and was reapplying each hour. "I'll be fine", I thought. I was wearing shades and a hat. I even stood for five minutes after applying sunscreen to ensure it had soaked in and wouldn't wipe off on my towel. None of this was enough.

The length of my reasonably pale back and legs transformed into an angry red reminder of the sun's awful power. The intensity of it has meant every movement of my arms stings and sitting down is a world of pain. Let's not even start on trying to sleep at night.

The sunburn is only now beginning to settle down but my awkward demise has got me thinking: "How many others have been in the same boat?" I thought I was doing the all the right things.

I guess we all have lessons to learn in life. That sun smart (or in my case sun stupid) message was one I won't be forgetting anytime soon. Sunscreen on its own just isn't good enough.

The words of Dr Strydom have come back to haunt me. "Sunscreen is not sunproof".


Amen, Dr Strydom. Amen.