Soak up the Sunscreen

Sun Bum

We’ve all heard it or probably even said it…soak up the sun. I certainly know I have. I will be the first to avidly confess that I LOVE the sun. Vitamin D is good for you in so many ways. In fact, the recommendation is that you spend a few minutes outside each day so that your body can produce Vitamin D. This is essential for strong bones, teeth and muscles. And, who doesn’t love the glow from a lovely summer tan? It makes those shorts, skirts and dresses more appealing to wear right? Some of this couldn’t be more wrong or more of a terrible misconception. I’m here to share my experience and to hopefully encourage your to change your focus to soak up the sunscreen and not the sun.

You may be wondering why I am writing about sunscreen when we are at the end of summer. Sunscreen isn’t needed in the fall and winter right? Not exactly. While it may be true that more skin is covered, it doesn’t mean that you should just store the sunscreen away until next year. It’s important year round and after my most recent checkup, I felt compelled to share why it truly is so important.

My Story

As a small child, I NEVER wore sunscreen. I don’t even recall a tube of sunscreen during the summer months. I can recall however, both my brother and I playing outside for hours in the sun. We never burned, yet tanned into that “summer golden brown.” The only place I ever had issues were on my face, which would get red when I laid out all day in my teenage years. Now, our mom rocked with taking care of us, but there were no major warnings of the importance of using sunscreen.

As I got older, I remember layering on the tanning lotion, trying to make myself as dark as possible. My thought was I would look “better” with a tan. During high school and college I began using the notorious tanning bed. Whoa, this was like the best thing since sliced bread. I mean twenty minutes to work on a tan versus hours in the sun, heck yea! Every prom as well as my wedding included tanning on my to-do list for the occasion. My dad, who is also amazing, would always say, “you need to stay out of that tanning bed,” however, I continued on. Definitely one of those times that I should have listened to my dad. Those events would pass which lead to “needing” to tan for vacations, events, etc. As mentioned, never having issues with sun burning other than my face.

Now let’s fast forward a bit. It’s 2011 and I’m at my annual checkup. My doctor asks if I have ever had a skin check. Me a skin check? Why do I need that? I have brown hair, no freckles and tan easily. Why on earth does she think I need a skin check? That was exactly what was going through my mind. Yet, she pointed out a mole on my back that she just didn’t like. She felt I needed to go to the dermatologist to have it checked out. I trusted her concerns and booked the appointment.

This screening turned into one of the scariest moments with my health. It all started with needing THREE moles removed, not just the one my primary doctor pointed out. Two weeks later, I got the call that I needed an in office surgical procedure. The mole on my back{the one my primary doctor pointed out} came back with abnormal cells. An incision was made to remove it which resulted in stitches both externally and internally. Thankfully, it came back benign. I have since had another mole removed which thankfully was also benign. I currently have to return every six months for a checkup due to the issues I have had.

Sun Bum

Sun Bum

Sun Bum

Sunscreen

Regardless of skin color, one should wear sunscreen everyday. Am I the best at everyday use? Even though I’ve been through quite a scare, I am not, but I should be. I’m working on making it part of my morning routine even if that means mixing it in with my moisturizer. Any place that will have sun exposure needs sunscreen, even in the winter. In terms of sunscreen, it truly needs to be higher than 15 spf in my opinion. Most importantly, make sure you are selecting one that offers broad spectrum uv coverage. Additionally, make sure to check the label for how often you need to reapply especially after water sports, swimming or sweating.

I’ve tried several spray on sunscreens simply because they are easy to use. I do however like Sun Bum for the coverage and for the fact that it smells delicious. What’s not to love, sun protection and a yummy scent! Score! My absolute fave with Sun Bum is there lip protectant. It comes in several different scents and it’s honestly perfect for year round. I honestly don’t care which brand you select, just WEAR it!

In summary

My goal with this was to hopefully share something different and impactful. Please learn from my experience and wear your sunscreen. Additionally, get a yearly skin check. Most insurance policies now will allow for this annual check. A tan does NOT make you more beautiful. You are beautiful just the way you are{I am still learning that and more to come on that topic}. However, trust me, I still get it, we all want a summer tan. Guess what, spray tans are the bomb diggity and work just fine. The scar on my back reminds me getting a tan from the sun just isn’t worth it. For awhile, that scar bothered me, causing me to worry what I looked like if my outfit was open in the back. Now, it’s part of my story, one that I hope encourages you to love yourself enough to protect your own skin.

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