Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Newsflash: you get skin cancer from the sun

Well, the "spot" is gone. My hubby is now calling me a "cancer survivor". Hardly! He even tried to convince me to start wearing a pink ribbon. If I'm lucky he'll never learn what the pink ribbon is for. The surgery was easy & short. The result is going to be a much larger scar than I expected. It was a small "superficial" spot & is going to end up being a 1 1/4 inch scar. Scars = life experience, right?

In my teens & early 20s, life was all about the first few good burns of the season. I'm fair skinned, but once I establish a bit of tan, I get some good color. Don't we all look better with color? And, slather me in the baby oil! Off season, bring on the tanning bed.

Enter my friend JoAnn. She is single-handedly responsible for the change in my ways. She taught me how to properly use SPF during a Florida vacation about 10 years ago. Here's how this stuff works: use it and use a lot of it. Reapply & reapply often. When summer begins (or you visit someplace where the sun is stronger), start with a high SPF (at least 15). You will tan. You will not burn. As your tan builds you can gradually reduce the SPF. During that vacation we started with 15, moved to 8 after a few days & switched to 4 a few days after that. Think brown, not red. This way you also get to enjoy your entire vacation without being forced indoors or suffering in burn pain and the smell of aloe. And who can make friends when you smell like aloe? Also & perhaps the most important benefit of proper use of SPF is that YOUR TAN WILL LAST LONGER!!! Don't believe me? Try it!

Here's where I'm confused though: vitamin D or SPF? Vitamin D is all the rage. The stats are in & we don't get enough of it. How do we properly balance enough sun without too much? I see research in my future....

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