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.