I wonder sometimes if as a nation we all suffer from a little bit of Seasonal Affective Disorder – or at least if there’s any science behind the national mood-lift that takes place every time the sun comes out.
“Imagine if it was like this all the time,” we say, “Sure we’d never leave the country again!”
Shorts and sandals appear overnight, casually thrown on as though we’re living on Bondi beach, and haven’t been hiding our pale toes under thick black tights for the last nine months. Barbecues are cleaned (or not…), shops sell out of burgers. Beer gardens are full, and it’s perfectly fine to open a bottle of white wine, even if it’s only Wednesday. Other rules are null and void too – ice-cream is re-categorised as a standard snack; no longer the rare treat that it is the rest of the year.
In fact, there are only two downsides to summer: flies and sun-cream. I won’t talk about flies, but if I had the time back that I spend chasing them with rolled up magazines, I’d probably have learned a new language by now. Sun-cream is the topic here – and mostly, sun cream is kind of a pain. Especially if you have to put it on a child. They run away when the bottle first appears, then after standing still for just enough time to dab big blobs on each cheek, they run away again. Actually, this is kind of like chasing the above-mentioned flies.
“Do her first” and “Why do I always have to have sun-cream?” and “Don’t get it on my dress mum” and “I don’t need it on my legs” are just some of the responses I get every time I attempt the ordeal that is sun-cream application. Maybe it’ll rain soon, is the uncharitable thought that comes to mind.
Last weekend, I tried out La Roche-Posay Factor 50 for kids for the first time – I use La Roche-Posay products all the time for my own skin as it’s sensitive (I always feel a bit silly saying that – like my skin can’t take criticism or is likely to go off in a huff) and I also use La Roche-Posay sun-cream on my face. They do a tinted one which is brilliant for those early days if you don’t quite feel ready for the bare-faced look.
So I was looking forward to trying out the kids’ version, and started with the tube of cream. The usual running away routine kicked in, but I eventually caught the toddler and managed to get cream onto his face, He had a lick and declared it to be “tasty”. I’m not sure that’s what La Roche Posay were going for, and I’m certain they wouldn’t advocate licking their sun-cream, but it was enough to convince my two-year-old to sit still and let me put cream on his legs and arms. After that, it was easy to apply – it rubbed in well and it doesn’t have a scent.
My four-year-old was next – she has very fair skin and red hair, and is prone to burning within four seconds of being exposed to sunlight, so I slathered on the cream, amid shrieks of protest in case I got some on her dress. Like her younger brother, once we got started, she was fine, and let me cover her from head to toe in cream, then ran off to do a jigsaw in her room, making all my work completely pointless.
Then my six-year-old had her turn – she declared the sun-cream to be “sparkly” when I put it on her legs, and kept asking me for more. Again, I don’t think that’s the main feature intended by La Roche Posay, but where kids are concerned; whatever works.
A few days later, I tried the spray version – I had been putting this off because sprays defeat me. As soon as I hold them any way but completely upright, they stop working. But this one didn’t let me down – I held it every which way possible, and it still worked. The texture is lighter than the cream version (and even more sparkly) so this was a real winner for me. I didn’t get a comment from the toddler on how it tastes – yet.
Some practical tips for applying sunscreen? Here goes:
- Let them put cream on you at the same time as you put it on them – then brace yourself – this is a messy option
- Tell a smaller child that the cream has powers to help him with running and climbing (not technically a lie – he’ll have to stay indoors if he doesn’t put it on)
- Pretend you are face-painting – ask what your child would like, and draw it on her face with cream, then rub it in after (which I find is the hard part…)
- Let older kids rub it in themselves as long as they let you check it afterwards
- Put it on before they’re dressed rather than having to avoid clothing
- Or simply explain that they can’t play outside without it (this is the one I use most – it’s not pretty, but it works)
In reality, it’s unlikely that any of the above will lead to peaceful suncream application, so perhaps we should just count ourselves lucky that an Irish heatwave only lasts three days.
I received two bottles of La Roche Posay sunscreen for review, on the coldest, wettest day in May, so I feel they brought me the sun and I’m delighted to have finally had the chance to try them. I wasn’t paid for the review – all opinions are mine and those of my kids.