A Letter of Caution to All Sun-Worshippers: Dark, Golden and Now Blotchy!

sun-dangers-585Back in the day, nobody used sunscreen. From the concrete ponds of California, to the lakes of the Midwest, to the beaches of Florida, us sun worshipers actually went for what we called “the burn.” It was practically a rite of summer and a small enough sacrifice to achieve that dark golden bronze we all so desired.

The indignity of that first disrobing, when God and everyone else at the pool chuckled at our lily-white bodies, was soon forgotten once we got some red on that skin. Every weekend, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (the prime tanning hours), we baked and basked until we could take no more. Girls and guys alike slathered up with everything from iodine and baby oil to the highly coveted Panama Jack Dark Tanning Oil with zero SPF and exotic tropical fragrance. How else were we to attain that deep, long-lasting tan?

And I am here as living proof to say that deep and long-lasting part—well, they weren’t kidding. Years of sun exposure have put the kibosh on my dermis that no fancy lotion or cream will ever repair. Brown spots, new moles and red patches show up daily!

Long gone are the days of throwing on a bit of mascara and walking out the door. I now spend my hard-earned cash on the best products available to help conceal the sun’s damage and wouldn’t dream of leaving the house without some form of make-up.

Did I mention the sun-seeker bonus? Overexposure to ultraviolet rays cause an accelerated collagen breakdown resulting in looser, saggier skin! I am sooo glad I could give gravity a helping hand! A few naturally occurring wrinkles are one thing, but mottled, leathery skin caused by cellular damage is completely avoidable.

You lift weights to keep your muscles toned and exercise your heart and lungs on a daily basis; don’t ignore the largest organ of the human body and skip the sunscreen. You will most definitely regret it.

You know you’ve lived through more than just a few summers when you start using phrases like “back in the day.” Eventually you younger gals will have to deal with spider veins and dry, crepe-like skin, so do yourself a favor: don’t add sun damage to the mix. Trust me, Mother Nature doesn’t need your help.

Are you diligent about using sunscreen? What SPF do you use? —Karen

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