Post Holiday Empties – things that actually worked.

So we’re back. And rather than doing posts about ‘What to take away with you’ – I thought it made sense to mention what I took and what actually got used up – by both myself and the family.

First up: Suncare



Edited July 2015:

I do not recommend this brand. I used it on myself in 2013 and yes, got a deep, brown, long-lasting tan. Since then I have spent too much time talking to people that have suffered melanoma and dermatologists that are openly aghast at the claims that Institut Esthederm make. I am dark olive-skinned genetically. I dread to think of Type 1 (fair, red-headed, freckled etc) people using this as their only protection from the sun.

It would have been easy for me to leave this post as it was and pretend it was fine, but I would rather say ‘Actually, I’ve changed my thinking and won’t use it.’ The fact that I had no intention of using it on my children should have been a big enough clue to me that it wasn’t safe, but I went ahead and used it. Yes I tanned, but my thinking is now ‘A tan is a sign of DNA damage.’

I only use Broad Spectrum SPF. 

I’d been asked about Esthederm a lot on the blog – and hadn’t used it before this holiday. Seeing as I had a rather large testing panel to hand I figured this was as good a time as any.

I used the tanning cream above – and the aftersuns below…


Institut Esthederm works differently from other sun products in that while it does contain titanium dioxide, it does not have a traditional SPF rating. There is definitely a differing opinion amongst dermatologists/skin experts about its efficacy.

Edited July 2015 – I have not managed to speak to one dermatologist that recommends this brand. 

I’ve been thinking a lot about SPF and skin cancer lately.

I recently tweeted a lot of facts about melanoma including:

  • In the 1920’s your chances of contracting skin cancer was around 1 in 1500. In 2013 its closer to 1 in 50. We had no SPF in the 1920’s – and every availability of SPF in the 21st Century.
  • 6 people a day die from malignant melanoma in the UK.
  • You are more at risk from melanoma if you have a close relative who has suffered from it (My Mum is a skin cancer survivor).

My take? SPF can definitely give you a false sense of security. I’m half-American – my Grandfather never sunbathed in Mississippi. EVER. If it was hot, he sat on the porch or went inside. He used to laugh at me when I got excited about being tanned. Thought I was insane. No SPF used. Ever.

These days we apply a ‘once-a-day’ SPF and think we’re good to go. And our cancer rates have quadrupled in the last 30 years. Quadrupled.

Knowing that info made me think about what SPF to use while on holiday – on me – I’m not using my kids as guinea pigs just yet.

The result?


I would not recommend IE for children – my kids were covered in SPF 70/55 from top-to-toe and I reapplied it every time they walked past me. It may seem hypocritical but they have virgin skin – I wasn’t willing to risk anything at this stage.

Tomorrow. The rest of the family and Hampton Sun.