The shocking face of sun damage

Last updated 05:00 11/10/2012
Carrie Bickmore UV scan

SHOCKING DIFFERENCE: Carrie Bickmore shows off her UV face.

Carrie Bickmore UV scan
UV DAMAGE: Carrie Bickmore's scan up close.

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An Australian TV host has put her face forward in a bid to shock people into not baking their skin in the sun.

Carrie Bickmore underwent a UV scan of her face and says she was horrified of the results.

"Before you get it done, you think it will be fine," she says.

"The average [UV rating] is 60 or 66 [100 being best and 0 being worst]. I was 42 ... which means I have a lot of sun damage and haven't looked after my skin."

The image showed dark patches of UV damage under her eyes and on her chin. "It was horrible, but also a great wake-up call," she says.

Bickmore, who grew up in Perth, says that like most of us she spent plenty of time as a kid mucking around in the sun.

"Mum always made me put sunscreen on, but I wasn't vigilant about reapplying every couple of hours."

She also attributes the damage to incidental sun, not protecting her skin in the cooler months and the typical teenage-girl desire for a tan. "As a teen, it's more about getting brown than thinking about skin cancer."

Bickmore lost her husband, Greg Lange, to brain cancer in 2010 after a 10-year battle with the disease.

"So many people lose their lives to cancers that aren't preventable. Skin cancer is preventable though."

Bickmore says that despite the shock of seeing her UV scan, she is glad she did it. "I can start to reverse the damage [even though] I can't undo it all."

She has started wearing sunscreen every day and has also changed her approach to protecting her 5-year-old son Ollie's skin.

"I think he's annoyed with me, but now every day we have to put sunscreen on ... summer, spring, autumn or winter. I try to make it fun and draw letters on and then rub it in."

For herself, she uses an anti-ageing tinted suncream under her make-up.

"Sunscreen used to be oily and disgusting, but it's not any more so it's been quite an easy transition," she says.

As for achieving a sun-kissed glow, Bickmore is all for faking it instead of baking it. "A bronzer is all you need."

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- Sydney Morning Herald

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