Thursday, May 30, 2013

Too Much Sun

As I sit here typing this, I am precariously perched in my chair. Why? Because I totally fried the backs of my legs at the lake this weekend. When you have a sunburn, it seems like there is really no pain worse. I can't sit because it hurts, but when I stand, it hurts too. Pants hurt, skirts hurt, sleeping really hurts. We went out to eat on Tuesday after Davis' wedding and we sat in a booth and I had on a dress. Let's just say it took a while for me to peel myself up off of the seat to leave. Ouch! More than painful, getting a sunburn is just really, really, really dumb. I mean, you have to be living under a rock to have not heard about the terrible effects that over exposure to the sun can cause. (Want to see a really gross picture of what skin cancer looks like? Check out my girl Back East Blonde). According to skincancer.org, having 5 or more sunburns in your lifetime DOUBLES your chances of melanoma, the most common form of skin cancer. DOUBLES? (Ok, so who here has had less than 5 sunburns in their lives? I know I have, and I'm relatively careful and cautious about skin care.) For whatever reason, though, I see so many women around my age ignoring the research and the ads for sunscreen in favor of looking tan. I'm guilty of this too. When I was in college, I laid out all the time, slathered in SPF, and was tan pretty much year round (I was laying out in November at the campus pool on several occasions--do you understand why I love living in Alabama and HATE when it's cold now?) I don't ever remember getting burned and it was probably because I was very conscious and as much as I wanted to look brown, I also wanted to not look like a handbag when I turned 40. Now that I work and am inside most of the time during the day, I'm pale. I don't really mind that, but I do like my legs to look tan during the summer, for whatever reason. I suppose we are wired to think that tan is "in" and pale is "out". This mentality is what keeps people searching for the perfect tan each year, and what is increasing the incidences of skin cancer in women every day.
The worst part is that you don't have to be one of those sun worshiper types to get skin cancer. One mistake can get you burned and put you at risk for melanoma. Take me for example. I laid out every day this weekend so I could get some color on my sad little white legs. Since it was my first time in the sun this year, I slathered on the SPF 30. Points for me! I also wore a hat to keep my face, neck, and chest in the shade. More points! I was fine on the first day. Then on the 2nd day, Forrest and my brother interrupted my SPF lotioning process and I lost where I was and forgot to hit my left thigh and my left forearm and they got burned. That's just straight up dumb! Then the third day I was determined on lay on my stomach only since my leg and arm were red. (I'm giving myself points for this decision, but not many). After I skied I reapplied, but not immediately. I'm blaming the burn on the back of my legs on this fact. I dried off with the towel, rubbing off all of the sunscreen that hadn't already come off in the water (apparently), and then laid there until my legs started to feel a little tingly before thinking "maybe I should reapply." DUMB! I'm from the South, and I should know better, and honestly, so should everyone. I don't want to sound preachy or judgmental, but I do want everyone to be aware of what a little sunburn this summer can do to you for the rest of your lives! Here is a quick list of easy things to do to protect yourself from skin cancer. 

1. WEAR SUNSCREEN every time you are in the sun! SPF 15 or higher is recommended!! 
2. REAPPLY said sunscreen every 2 hours (yes, every 2) or after swimming.
3. Wear a hat! It protects your face, neck, and chest--the most sensitive areas!
4. The sun sees you even when you aren't in a swim suit! Wear make up with SPF in it every day (my Clinique Even Better Make Up keeps me covered). Lather up when you are going for your daily run, doing yard work, etc. Just because you aren't trying to get any sun doesn't mean it doesn't find you!
5. When you apply your sunscreen, do so in the house, not at the beach or pool. It's best to stand in front of a mirror before you put on your suit to make sure you get it everywhere. Your straps or bottoms might shift so you need to sunscreen places even the sun doesn't shine! Make sure to get sensitive areas like your neck, ears, eyelids, and the part in your hair! Wait 30 minutes or so before going out in the sun after applying so it dries and sinks in before you sweat it off.
6. Protect your peepers with sunglasses with polarized lenses.
7. For all you pet lovers, did you know that your pet can get sunburned and end up with skin cancer? White pets are more prone than others with darker coats. Please ask your vet if your dog or cat is at risk! I know my Ruffles' skin shows through her curls so even though she likes to lay out, we don't let her stay in the sun for very long so she won't get burned!

Any other tips for protecting yourself from the sun??? Share away!



3 comments:

  1. Great minds? Did you see my Facebook post this morning? #pale

    ReplyDelete
  2. vinegar. works every time for taking the "sting" out of the sunburn.it smells awful, but I swear, it works. hope you feel better soon! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is so important. I see so many bloggers saying they lay out and I just wonder if they use sunscreen. If I use sunscreen I don't tan but if I don't I burn badly!

    ReplyDelete

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