Photography - Maciej Serafinowicz
I’m lying on the beach. It’s 37 degrees. I’m covered in oil. I’m strategically rotating every 25 mins to make sure I’m even. I’ve popped some 15 plus on my moles. I’m fine. I can feel myself burning. I smile to myself. I’m going to be a golden goddess. I’m going to be a golden goddess. Please. Please. Please.*
*Jolts into an upright position and remembers her natural skin colour is so white it’s transparent and she does NOT tan. Looks down and resembles a lobster. Goes inside and covers herself with Aloe Vera and prays she doesn’t blister. Waits one year, and then repeats again.
I’m an educated, heath conscious woman but when it comes to sun safety for some reason I just wouldn’t listen. WHY? Why aren’t we getting it? Melanoma is the THIRD most common cancer in women yet our influencers are glamourising suntanning and brands are making huge amounts of money selling tanning oils. It’s 2019 people.
Me, every holiday 🤦🏽♀️
I sat down with the incredible Lisa Patulny who is on a mission to make sun safety sexy and call time on this mostly preventable cancer!
Q. Tell us about your mission, Call Time on Melanoma.
A. I founded Call Time On Melanoma (CTOM) late last year as a platform through which to share ambassador Natalie Fornasier's inspiring story. (Natalie was first diagnosed with stage III melanoma at the age of 20, and again with stage IV at 24.) It's a not-for-profit awareness initiative that exists to share statistics, facts, first-person stories and sunscreen recommendations. We're about reframing sun safety as self-care. But more than that, CTOM is a community. It's a place for young women who have battled or live with melanoma and skin cancer to come for support.
Q. What motivated you to get started on this?
A. The day Natalie told me she'd been diagnosed with melanoma for the second time, I was incredibly affected. I couldn't stop thinking about it, couldn't sleep, couldn't talk about anything else. Once the shock wore off, I became obsessed with figuring out a way to help. I knew Natalie wanted to raise awareness and educate and I also knew my background in digital media and beauty journalism meant I could do that.
I felt that the universe was calling on me to do this work. It felt big and important and at first I struggled with thinking it was too important for "someone like me" to tackle. But that's bullshit. Every one of us can initiate change, I truly believe that. So I had to press pause on my anxiety and just go forward. I knew that to stay true to my values I had to try to give Natalie the opportunity to rewrite how this cancer had affected her life.
Lisa Patulny is on a mission to “reframe Sun Safety as self care”“At first I struggled with thinking it was too important for someone like me to tackle. But that’s bullshit. Every one of us can initiate change. I truly believe that”
So fast forward a couple of years and dozens of sunburns later, I choose my life over trying to get a tan. I use sunscreen daily and I regularly get my moles checked. I do get a lot of questions about why Cinch does not have an SPF in it and the simple answer is – I believe it is best to use a separate sunscreen. It’s more effective. Plus – who wants to keep layering a $39.95 skincare product 3 or 4 times a day to make sure you are getting the right level of protection? I asked Lisa her opinion on this ever-debatable topic.
Lisa says: Using a primary sunscreen (aka a standalone sunscreen, not relying on a foundation with SPF in it, for example) is important because using a separate sunscreen means you are more likely to apply enough product to get the full SPF value marked on the bottle. The Cancer Council recommends a full teaspoon of sunscreen for protection of face, neck and ears. Nobody is using a full teaspoon of foundation. (Which means that even if your foundation is marked SPF50, you're probably only applying enough to get a teeny amount of SPF.) If you choose to use a moisturiser with SPF in it, make sure you follow the above rule and apply the full teaspoon to face, neck and ears, even if you have to do it in two layers.
Thankfully we have Ferris to remind us how to layer our skincare.
Q. Advice on anyone wanting to fulfil their mission?
A. I'm still working on it myself but I will say this -- passion is everything. If you believe in something enough, you'll eventually move the mountains required to make it work. It might take years of chipping away at it before you get traction, so it's important you have that inner belief to draw from.