It’s time to talk sunscreen!

Actually, it’s past time for my annual “WEAR SUNSCREEN” post.  I usually do about about the horrors of skin cancer much earlier in the year, but this Spring has nearly kicked my ass with it’s chaos and catastrophes, so I guess it’s a case of better late than never.

I have been wearing sunscreen with an SPF of 50 or higher every day for 20 years.  I wear it on my face and neck, and when I remember, on the back of my hands. I started doing this because I am incredibly vain, and  I once read an interview with Kim Basinger in which she said she wears it every day. I think we will all agree that at 60, her skin looks amazing!

So, for me, sunscreen was about not getting wrinkles vs. not getting skin cancer. My sister is just as religious as I am about wearing sunscreen and next week she will have her second spot of skin cancer removed from her face.

Here’s the thing– if we can get skin cancer, anybody can. Carrie and I grew up swimming  and we were both lifeguards in college.  All that sun exposure way from way back before we knew better than to layout on the back deck slathered in baby oil is just now coming back to haunt us.

There isn’t much you can do about previous sun exposure but you can start right now– today — preventing skin cancer by wearing sunscreen and protective clothing when you’re going to be exposed to the sun for any length of time. One thing people often forget is that those of you with long commutes in the car are exposing the left side of your face to the sun  the whole time you’re driving. Remember- you don’t have to get burned to damage your skin. There is no such thing as a “healthy tan”.

The National Council on Skin Care Prevention has a bunch of tips for preventing skin cancer but I think we all know the drill. Apply skin care early and often. Avoid the sun during the peak rays. wear a hat. Wear protective clothing, etc.

And don’t stop protecting your skin from the sun when Summer’s over. Skin cancer prevention should be practiced year-round.

 

13 Comments

  1. Lisa Cogswell

    June 20, 2014 at 8:45 am

    I agree. John has had two melanoma scares. The first one was caught by accident several months after we were married and it was bad. It was the size of a pencil eraser and they had to take a huge piece of his shoulder off to make sure they got it all. He used to tell the boys’ friends that he was bitten by a shark. The second one was a few years ago. We are very stringent about sunscreen especially with a one redhead and one light brown haired sons. Also remember that short haired dogs can get sunburn also.

    Great post!!!

  2. And in the winter too!!! Always use a facial moisturizer with a sunscreen!!!!!

  3. Just curious…do you have a favorite sunscreen? And how do you feel about zinc vs chemical sunscreens?

  4. Yes, I’d love to know what sunscreen you like to use on your face. I find that the high-SPF suncreens just feel very heavy on my face. Are there any that don’t feel like a layer of paste?

  5. Susan (sjanova)

    June 20, 2014 at 5:44 pm

    And how do you balance all this with the need for sunshine on the skin for Vitamin D — which we need for our bones? Do we get enough if we use sunscreen?

    • Susan

      June 21, 2014 at 5:26 pm

      Susan, my dermatologist says it’s better to supplement vitamin D and where your sunscreen. Her theory is that you can take a pill to get your vitamin D but not to eliminate skin cancer.

  6. Christine Baszak

    June 20, 2014 at 6:01 pm

    Sometimes it could be from the chemicals in all the products that we use. Don’t get me wrong, I do use facial moisturizer with SPF 15, but never higher And not every day. Not everything that the FDA allows companies to use is healthy. Flouride is a prime example. Read your toothpaste label- do not swallow. Yet there are towns that add it to drinking water and even comes in ‘vitamin’ form by prescription for children.

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  8. I had a skin cancer removed from my leg just below my leg when I was 25 years old and it was very scary. I still have the big hole as I didnt want water balloons inserted into my leg to stretch the skin to cover it up. It is a reminder and when people ask I tell them. I have light brown hair with red in it, and freckles and fair skin so I can burn when it is 18 degrees and living in Australia it gets very hot. I try not to go outside as I would burn even with sunscreen on. In relation to Vitamin D you can sit outside with your eyes closed and face the sun on a moderate day and if you keep doing it your Vitamin D should go up. Since I am a high risk skin cancer sufferer I take 3 Vitamin D tablets a day which I have to take for my lifetime. I have had a number of small moles cut off my neck and back which go back to childhood as normally the cancer takes 10 years to start.

  9. I recommend an article in the online BBC news today: It is about how we can become addicted to the sun and how dangerous it can be for ourselves and our love ones…..

    http://www.bbc.com/news/health-27866407

  10. And don’t forget the tops of your feet in summer if you’re wearing sandals! I had to have Moh’s surgery on my foot this fall ~ not fun.

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