Of all the lifestyle changes which I needed to implement to manage my lupus, being told I need to avoid the sun was one of those thing which hit me the hardest.
Spending the day at the beach is one of those things which turns me into a 5 years old excited kiddo. It also made me feel deeply content and energised. How could I possibly give up on that?
I have to admit that I wouldn’t collaborate AT ALL during the first few weeks- I’d still go out with bare legs and bare arms, without any umbrella or forgetting my sunscreen.
“Wearing long sleeves in the Mauritian summer? Are you kidding? I’m probably gonna suffer from dehydration or end up all stinky from sweating.
“I can’t walk through Port-Louis with an umbrella, I’m sure to knock it against someone’s head and get insulted.”
*some time around noon* “Daaaamn, I forgot to apply sunscreen again this morning”
Being repetitively scolded by my family and my doctor, going through a few flares, and educating myself about how the sun can be harmful for lupus patients progressively made me change my mind.
This is how I deal with the sun:
- Setting an alarm on my phone to remind myself to apply sunscreen every morning. This need to be done at least 30 minutes before exposure to allow the skin to absorb it. I also gently tap (not wipe) any excess with a piece of tissue paper to avoid looking all greasy.
- Opt for a small lotion bottle/stick/spray which is easy to carry around and re-apply as needed.
- Limit wearing shorts to when I’m indoors or at night time.
- About bare arms: I felt uncomfortable (overheating) wearing jackets so I opted for large but lightweight scarves instead. I use them to cover my arms when I’m out in the sun and can even wrap them around my head/face. Also quite practical when driving for instance.
- When planning an outing, I usually let people know that I cannot stay out in the sun for long so we opt for indoor activities or stay in the shade as much as possible.
- You know that thing you bought ages ago but wore only once? That’s me and my hat. Despite advice from the doc, I’m still trying to convince myself I don’t look absolutely ridiculous with that.
- Some brands also offer a variety of sun-protective clothes but I’m yet to give it a try.