Glutton for Punishment
I must admit something that I am not especially proud to share. Yes, I am a glutton for punishment. You might ask how in the world that could possibly relate to skin care. Well, I will be the first to admit old habits die hard. The following sentence should sum it up quite nicely:
"Hello, my name is Sarah, and I am a sun addict."
I was the WORST as a teenager. I would tan at least thirty minutes a day every day (both outside and in the tanning bed--*gasp*!), and never, ever wore sunscreen. Sure, I had a great tan and skin that did not burn easily, but I am paying for it now BIG TIME. I have facial hyperpigmentation under my eyes like you would not believe. And seeing as I do not want to do even further damage, those dark spots look absolutely wonderful against my present day "I-am-so-white-I-glow-in-the-dark" skin.
Magnified by the fact that May was National Skin Care Awareness Month, the weight of my guilt feels that much heavier. I recognize there are many wonderful benefits to shedding light on a very serious subject, however does the world really have to dedicate an entire month focusing on such a huge personal flaw?
Truth be told, the answer is yes, world, go ahead shine the light as brightly as you can. In fact, turn on the flood lights, because the following message needs to be heard NOW. Every year in the U.S., over 68,000 new cases of melanoma are reported, and 8,700 people die from this horrible cancer. And that number is only on the rise. Numbers are one thing, but once upon a time this reality hit much too close to home. A few years ago, a personal friend had a very scary encounter with skin cancer. A relatively normal looking mole turned his world upside down, as an entire portion of his neck and lymph nodes had to be removed. Not only that, but chemotherapy also proved to be a bigger challenge than thought possible. Knowing his story was my wake up call to "stop the insanity" and start caring for my skin the way that I should.
So that is exactly what I did. I took the following basic sunscreen guidelines to heart and completely changed my skin care regimen:
- Use sunscreen EVERYDAY, even if you are not going into the sun or only going for a short period of time. This rule applies from the youngest to the oldest--no exceptions!
- Use one to two teaspoons-full for the face and one ounce for the body.
- The product ingredients really do matter! Look for sunscreen with zinc oxide. Chemical sunscreens can breakdown faster and be irritating to the skin and eyes.
- Always use an SPF of 15 or higher. (30 is even better, and in another post to follow, I will explain why.)
- Sunscreen in a foundation makeup is not enough by itself! (Once again, stay tuned for a future post explaining why.)
- Apply sunscreen 30 minutes before sun exposure and re-apply every 1-1.5 hours or after swimming.
- Look for The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation.
- Always wear a hat while in the sun to protect your face from damaging rays.
FYI, there is one sunscreen that I particularly love. It's Obagi's new Sun Shield SPF 50. It goes great under my makeup and does not make my skin look chalky at all. It has the highest rating a sunscreen can receive (PA+++), and it is absolutely fabulous!
There is more to say, but I must save it for another post. For now, there is work to be done. Until next time, remember your sunscreen!
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This page was last updated: July 17, 2013