No place in the sun

With the sun shining and the temperature reaching a glorious 21 degrees this afternoon, you might expect me to be filled with the joys of spring. Especially when as a home worker I am – finally – and smugly able to enjoy the benefits of remote working to the full by sitting in our lovely back garden at lunchtimes and soaking up the rays.

The only problem is that, as you might be able to tell from the photo of yours truly gracing the top of this website, I am blessed with a complexion resembling a carton of UHT. And frankly as somebody who is deficient in the tan department – generally I don’t really tan, I just burn and then eventually the lobster turns a light grey colour resembling dirt – I am FED UP with having to pay a fortune for sun cream!

I burn like a matchstick – I have my dear red-haired, Irish mother to blame for this state of affairs. Thanks Mum! And I have been sunburned so many times in the past that I have lost count. Once when I was sixteen I wandered around for four months looking like I had stockings on after the backs of my legs were burned raw on a hot July day from wearing cropped leggings. This was probably the only instance of me – almost – getting a tan. So I like to wear as strong a factor as possible just to be on the safe side.

I had been using an old factor 35 cream that cost me £5.85 in a February sale – the price is still on it! But it is about four years old now and according to the Cancer Research UK’s website, creams that old might not work. So to be on the safe side I thought I’d go and buy a fresh bottle. I was shocked to find nothing for sale under £8.99, with one sun block product selling at an extortionate £12.99! In fact, it seems to be the general rule that the higher the factor rating, the more expensive it is. Pretty unfair on us pale and interesting types!

Fair enough, it doesn’t please me or aid my search for the frugal life, but I have a job and can – if necessary – afford to put my hand in my pocket and grudgingly pay these shocking prices. But what about people who don’t have a spare £10? What about those with young families who need to apply it several times a day to their children? You can’t keep them covered up all the time and shouldn’t kids be able to go out and enjoy the good weather? Especially if their parents can’t afford a holiday abroad. Might people risk skin cancer because they simply can’t afford to pay these ridiculous sun cream prices?

I found a recipe on the internet for making your own sun cream but there’s quite a few ingredients required that you’re not likely to have lying around the house, and it’s unclear what the sun protection factor is. The good news is apparently that Superdrug is cutting the price of some of its sun creams by 70 per cent which is something. I shall go and investigate our local store to see if it’s participating in the promotion.

I guess the frugal alternative would be to stay indoors when it’s really sunny (as I used to do anyway as a gloomy teenager) or wear long loose clothes and invest in Nicole Richie style bug-eyed sunglasses and an enormous hat, but it’s not an ideal scenario. After all, there ought to be some benefits to our new Mediterranean style climate, even if it is the product of global warming! Here are some tips from Cancer Research UK on avoiding sun burn.

Do you think sun cream is too expensive? Should it be available on the NHS? How do you protect yourself or children from the sun?


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8 Responses to No place in the sun

  1. rik says:

    You\’re lucky, I have to put it on my head too! I don\’t see how they can justify charging stupid prices, it makes you wonder if the sun really is that dangerous or just another marketing lie. I know a friend with relatives in Sardinia who can\’t understand why we need sun cream on at all, they use olive oil. It does give me visions of frying though!

  2. Clare says:

    Lloyds chemists used to offer their own brand at really good prices, and all SPF were the same price so no paying over the odds if your skin is more sensitive.  Great stuff. Maybe they still have this offer?  Clare

  3. piper says:

    Great, thanks for that, will check out Lloyds. Just seen a Superdrug advert in the newspaper – it\’s selling its own brand Solait factor 25 for £7.97 for two and Nivea factor 20 for £9.97 for two, but must check out whether there are offers on the high factor sun block type ones that I prefer!
    Mmm…olive oil…Terrett will be frying tonight!

  4. rik says:

    Just got Ambre Solaire factor 50+ kids, two for a tenner at Asda.

  5. Jeanette says:

    I bought two bottles of Ambre Solaire factor 50 for sun intolarant skin for £10 at Asda.  Wonder if I should bother though as I wore olive oil mixed with malt vinager all through the 70\’s & 80\’s.

  6. samantha says:

    i actually do get factor 60 total sunblock on prescription as i have a skin condition called discoid lupus, basically i get a rash from being in any sunlight i even have to use sun screen in the winter as well but nyes sunscreen is very expensive, sometimes avon do good offers like buy 3 bottles for £15 give them a try.

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