Many of you are going to find this post a bit boring, and you will probably think that I’ve gone slightly crazy at my excitement over sun cream! Yes I did use the word excitement and sun cream in the same sentence!
Let me explain a little about Livvy’s sun cream routine before I get to my excitement. I have mentioned before in my blog that Livvy has sun cream applied to all possible exposed skin areas before she leaves the house every day. What I mean by possible exposed areas is her face, ears, neck and hands. When she enters a safe environment such as school she takes her mask and gloves off therefore there is no protection on these areas.
If someone were to open a door or window, not knowing Livvy was near by, then the sun cream gives her that final defence from UV light and more skin cancers. For this reason it is paramount that Livvy has a good coverage of sun cream, she reapplies it every two hours, with the guidance of her key worker within school. This ensures any parts that do get missed at her first application are covered throughout the day whilst topping up on the overall coverage.
Livvy wears two pairs of leggings under her school dress, and also wears a UV protective long sleeve top, this is enough protection from UV light and therefore she doesn’t need sun cream all over her body. However, if she gets too warm she can take her top off (whilst indoors) and just wear her dress but she then covers her bare arms in sun cream.
I’m sure most of you reading this will know how frustrating putting sun cream on a child is, it can be greasy and thick and most children aren’t too happy about the process although most children only have one application a day and only on really sunny days.
Imagine trying to put sun cream on a child every two hours of everyday, all year round. Livvy is great and no longer moans about having to do this daily task, she likes to be independent and therefore puts the cream on herself. Its vital that no parts are missed as any gaps in her armour could allow UV to hit her skin and result in more skin cancers. So far, all Livvy’s skin cancers have been on her face, scalp and collar bone with the exception of a melanoma on the back of her hand. Therefore, we as parents and her key worker at school watch over her to ensure she’s fully covered, not in a ‘hands on the hips pointing out missed areas’ kind of way, but just being with her chatting about her day and reminding her that she’s not done her eye lids yet which the reply is often ‘yes I know! I’m doing them now!’
After chatting to another parent of an XP child and also the XP nurse in London I was made aware of a ‘roll-on’ sun cream. I thought it was a good idea but didn’t get any at the time. We have tried many different creams over the years and we have found one that Livvy gets along with, it doesn’t stain her clothes, isn’t too think and doesn’t leave her looking like she’s covered in sun cream in the depths of winter. It comes in a big 500ml bottle with a pump action to make it easy to get the cream out without covering the bottle with cream at the same time. One bottle sits in our kitchen and another on the shelf in her class room. We currently get this vital part of Livvy’s defence from skin cancer free on prescription, however with the news this week that the NHS are possibly going to be cutting back prescriptions that can be bought over the counter, including sun cream, I thought I’d have a look to see how much it would cost to buy our normal 500ml bottle. Whilst looking I found a roll on in the same brand that Livvy has become used to so thought I’d order one just to see how well it worked, remembering the recommendation from our friend and also the XP nurse.
When it came I was in the house with just Eddie, I got it out and tested it on Eddies arm. We were both amazed at how fast and effective it was covering Eddies arm. Eddie even remarked that he would like one for his school bag as he thought it would be easier to apply than the normal tube that I sent with him during the summer months.
Livvy soon returned with Phil and even though it was close to bed time started applying sun cream all over her face with a big smile on her face, ‘how does it work?’ She asked whilst trying to figure out how the ball was moving and letting cream out at the same time.
The next morning I didn’t need to remind her to put her sun cream on, she was more than happy to do it with her new roll on. We took the new sun cream to school and when I picked her up her key worker remarked about how well it was working and she joked that Livvy has never had so much cream on before. Even as we stood chatting Livvy was putting more cream on, rolling the ball all over her neck and checks.
It may be just the novelty of the new bottle that has increased Livvy’s willingness to put her cream on and it may fade as the novelty wears off, but for now we can enjoy a good coverage of sun cream with an independent, happy and willing participate, and if that’s not worth getting excited about then I don’t know what is! This small bottle of roll on sun cream has revolutionised our daily sun cream routine.