Were you like I was in my teens and twenties? A sun worshiper chasing a great tan? I would lay out from 11 – 2, lathered in baby oil, to get the optimum sun exposure. Back in the 70’s and early 80’s, no one ever talked about ultra-violet rays, skin cancer, or eye sensitivity. It was all about the deepest, darkest tan. I was all over it, even with my pale, white natural skin.
As a mid-lifer, I have totally changed my outlook and behavior regarding the sun and my body. For one, I gave up tanning years a go and turned to tanning lotion instead. These lotions have vastly improved from the days where you turned out looking like a pumpkin. And I have gotten the applying down to a science: rub it in until it is dry. My favorite tanning lotion is Neutrogena’s build-a-tan gradual sunless lotion. I have used it for years and the result is very natural. Two and a half bottles get me from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Next, I make sure that any face products I use has an SPF of at least 15. Currently, I’m using itCosmetics Your Skin but better CC+ cream. It’s light, provides coverage and has an SPF of 50. I’m trying to be better about using a daily body lotion with an SPF 30 on any exposed skin before I go out the door.
Last, I have gotten an annual body scan from my dermatologist. This was recommended to me by my mother’s doctor after my mom had her second bout of melanoma. A body scan is where a dermatologist visually reviews you entire skin surface looking for any abnormalities. No area is left unchecked including the scalp, ear lobes, in between appendages, and on the bottom of feet. With her trained eye, the dermatologist will determine if there are any issues that need further testing and make recommendations. Usually I just have some squamous cell action going on and the dermatologist will spray the affected area with a frozen gas. Ouch. It stings. Then it scabs over. Not the most comfortable but at least she stops those areas from turning in to something worse, like skin cancer. Once, I had to have a biopsy taken on a spot on my leg to rule out a malignancy. Luckily, it turned out negative.
My dermatologist gave me some tips for overall sun protection: