Why sun safety is the new self-care

For many of us, sunny weather conjures images of beautiful beaches and gorgeous tans. 

However, what we don’t like to think about too much is melanoma. Let’s face it, it’s not the prettiest subject matter, especially when you just want to enjoy your summer. But ignorance isn’t bliss, especially when melanoma is so prevalent in Australia (leading it to be called our national cancer).

For The Holiday Co. founder, Lauren Lewis, this subject matter hits close to home as she beat melanoma at just 18 years old. Inspired by her own story – and that of so many others – she designed a range of cover-ups to help women feel free in the sun (without having to wear daggy clothing). Enter: The Holiday Co.

Lisa Patulny is also inspiring Aussie women to stay sun-safe, in style. Her initiative, Call Time On Melanoma, grabbed our attention both with its chic aesthetic and its debunking of melanoma myths. We caught up with Lisa to talk about why sun safety needs to treated as self-care.

Why did you found Call Time On Melanoma?

My friend, Natalie Fornasier, was diagnosed with advanced melanoma last year at the age of 24. (It was her second diagnosis, having been first diagnosed with melanoma at just 20.) Hearing about what she was going through, coupled with my shock at discovering that melanoma is the number one cancer in young Australians, prompted me to create CTOM. It was intended as a place for Natalie to share her story to inspire others, but has grown to be – and represent – so much more than that. Together, we’re on a mission to save young lives.


How do we make sun safety and not sun tanning cool again?

There are lots of brands out there making sun safety cool. Great hats, sunglasses, fake tans, sunscreens, umbrellas and sun tops are not so tricky to find anymore. I think Call Time On Melanoma is proof that meaningful social change can happen at a grassroots level. So, be the changemaker in your circle. Educate yourself then tell your mates and loved ones.

You must know a lot of facts about sun safety! What are some of the ones that stand out?

There are lots! Tanning is skin cells in trauma, trying to protect themselves from cancer. Even if you don’t burn you still need to worry about UV damage to your DNA. (That’s the stuff that causes cancer.) Melanoma kills more young people in Australia than any other cancer. And finally, (and tragically) someone in Australia dies from melanoma every 5 hours.


What do you say to women who don’t like to wear sunscreen?

No matter your skin type, tone, likes and dislikes, there’s an SPF BFF out there for you.

How can we wear sunscreen with makeup? Can we mix it with foundation?

Whether your sunscreen is “chemical” or mineral, it should be the last step in your skincare routine. Whack on your mists, serums, moisturisers and whatever else, then finish with SPF. Wait until it’s touch-dry, then apply makeup on top. NEVER mix sunscreen with foundation or any other skincare or makeup product—it dilutes the protection by a significant amount.


But what about the beach? How do you stay sun-safe and still stylish?

Apply and reapply your favourite SPF, wear a cute hat and sunglasses. Cover up, whether that’s by wearing a sun top, choosing a swimsuit with more coverage, or lazing around in something like a linen shirt. Seek shade as much as possible. Also? Fake it, don’t bake it.

What would you like to tell the women of Australia as we head into summer?

If you’ve never had one before, book yourself in for a professional skin check. They are life-saving.

Follow Call Time on Melanoma here.