I am weird about my skin. Maybe not weird, but very protective. The number of products I have collected under the sink in my bathroom could fill up two pharmacies and a whole Lush store. I make sure to moisturize my skin at least three times a day, since it is so dry. I use eye-creams, lip scrubs, face masks (charcoal and mint are my favorites), and pore strips every week. But the thing I am most meticulous about is making sure my products have SPF.
This, I am the strictest on.
I was fourteen when I began Acutane. Before the medication, I tanned easily and (unfortunately) would go outside without putting sunscreen on my shoulders or face. That all changed when I started Acutane. My skin went under a severe change. Although my acne went away like magic, replaced by extremely dry skin and peeling, I burned every time I went out in the sun. My dermatologist warned me of the side effect and said that I probably won’t be able to tan as easily as I once did, and instead burn.
Two years later, when I was sixteen, my mom had pieces of her skin cut out to remove cancerous cells. She had many spots on her chest and a couple areas on her face that needed to be monitored over the next few months since they looked to be cancerous as well. I was told to get checked out as well, just in case, because I was 50% more likely to develop skin cancer because my mom had it. 50%! More! Likely!
To me, this was a massive wake up call. Before, I didn’t care that I burned, I wanted to have color. People always told me I looked better when I had some sun because being pale, I looked “ill” and “unhealthy.” I began researching products that would help protect my skin, not just for my face but for my body as well.
Seven years later, I am proud to say, I have taken really good care of my skin. I don’t tan. My lotions all have SPF. And I make sure, that if I am outside, I carry sunscreen in my bag and make sure to reapply at least every couple hours. I may be a little crazy about my skin, but it is for good reason. 50% more likely! And, now, I love my pale skin.
Last year my mom had even more cancerous cells and had to undergo chemo. However, she still goes in the sun without protection and even went into a tanning bed the other day before her week long trip to Mexico. Apparently, there is a new tanning bed on the market that is supposed to be “safe.” I call it false advertising because there is no way that a bed that fakes UVA and UVB rays will be safe. While I can yell at her all I want about making sure she is making smart choices about her skin, she needs to be the one who chooses to do it. I just hope it doesn’t get worse than it is.
If you’re wanting to be tan or be out in the sun, just please be smart about it. Yes, the sun and the heat and the beach are all great, but what is better is that your skin is healthy. Seeing my mom go through what she did last year was hard and it’s so much easier to put on sunscreen starting at a younger age, then getting skin removed when you’re older. Plus, you will look so much younger when you’re older without all those wrinkles and age spots!
Also, make sure that once a year you go to the dermatologist. It’s so important to make sure to take care of your skin and check out any moles or other spots that are causing you some concern. 1 in 5 Americans develop some type of skin cancer in their lifetime. Let’s not let that number increase.
If you’re looking to be tan and not damage your skin, here are some options that will make you look darker without damaging your skin.
St. Tropez Bronzing Mousse: This baby is one of the only tanning mousse’s that I have used that does not streak or turn you orange. I recommend the Express Bronzing Mousse. I’ll admit, it’s a bit pricey, but so worth it if you really are desperate for a tan. Leave it on for about an hour and you will get a nice glow.
Tarte’s Brazilliance: Another nice (and slightly pricey) tanner. It smells kind of strange and takes a bit longer than the St. Tropez to dry, but it gives a really nice color. Don’t apply it more than once a week though! You might turn a color you don’t want to turn (bright orange).
If you’re looking for a great sunscreen, below are a couple of my favorite products:
Tarteguard: Are you sensing a theme with my products? I love Tarte. They are so good to my very sensitive skin and their newest product is my newest obsession. Tarteguard smells really nice and isn’t greasy or oily on my face. I tend to put this on before my BB Cream so I know I am protected throughout the day.
Neutrogena Dry-Touch: Again, this product isn’t greasy or oily. It definitely has that sunscreen smell, but hey, it’s summer that’s what your skin is supposed to smell like, right?
Also, if you’re in the St. Louis area, Miles Against Melanoma is a great organization that helps raise money and awareness around skin cancer! June 7th is their annual 5K race, so get involved!