When Your Family Listens to You About Skin Health

Last updated: September 2019

“Do as I say AND as I do.” This variation on a familiar quote is firmly in play when I speak to my family about skincare and sun protection. Everyone knows that I am an evangelist for good sun practices, but am I being heard? Are my admonitions falling on deaf ears? Are those closest to me paying attention or are my suggestions being lumped in with “don’t swim after eating” or “don’t run with scissors.” A couple of weeks ago, I found out.

Sawyer and his mole

So, recently I was spending some time with my son, Sawyer, and I saw this curious-looking mole on the back of his neck that looked a little odd. Immediately, I suggested that he get that checked out. Now, I don’t make these suggestions like this every day. I pick and choose my battles. This was a hill that I would die on. I realize that I am not responsible for his reaction, but only for my action. I love him and it was easy to do. He listened. He heard me.

Sawyer saw a dermatologist

Now, Sawyer is a great young man. He is now a writer/contributor for Health Union as well. He made it a point to make an appointment with his dermatologist and actually go. Thank goodness for little victories! The best news was that it turned out to be nothing and he didn’t make me feel bad for suggesting that he go. He understood the need to be diligent and to be his best skincare advocate, especially with melanoma on both sides of the family.

Suggestions for talking with others

Here are my tips for talking to close friends and family about good skincare practices.

  • Don’t be preachy. Rarely works.
  • Don’t shame. Never works.
  • Be positive and talk about the benefits of good skincare practices, such as peace of mind.
  • Be careful when trying to convince with emotion to the exclusion of logic and evidence-based practices. Emotions can feel manipulative and inconsistent.
  • Speak out of love and care. These go a long way.
  • Always follow up any conversation by listening and relating to others’ feelings. Empathy and sympathy go a long way, as well.
  • BE CONSISTENT IN YOUR OWN SKINCARE. Others will look at the way you take care of yourself. You can influence them by your own example.
  • Never say, “I told you so.” Enough said.

Influencing your loved ones

I’m thankful that Sawyer heard me. He also is now making sure to use sunscreen and is taking other preventative measures to protect himself from dangerous UV rays. He is beginning to understand that a multi-pronged approach to advocacy, prevention, diagnosis, and treatment can make a difference in his life and the lives of others. There is nothing as satisfying as helping your children (and have them actually appreciate it). I feel like I am making a difference inside my own home.

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