Have You Had Your Skin Checked Lately?

skin-cancer-585I’m super conscious of skin health. For the past 10 years, I’ve been slathering on the sunscreen like a wildebeest (a wildebeest who wears sunscreen, obviously), and I get seriously pissed if I accidentally get a sunburn. It helps that my husband is actually allergic to sun—if he gets too much exposure, he starts itching like crazy. He had one pretty miserable night on our honeymoon in Mexico where I got to practice the “in sickness and in health” part of our vows.

Needless to say, my sun-hating husband has been a great influence on my sun-loving self. In my youth I would pass so much time lying out in the sun, reading a book, trying to get a tan. Not to mention all of the many hours I spent at the pool during the summer. The darker my tan lines, the better.

Thankfully, I started to get my act together toward the end of my college years when I began to realize that, hey, sun exposure is serious business and does serious damage. But being with my husband is a constant reminder that I need to apply the sunscreen. Plus, I don’t want my kids getting sunburned either, so I’m really good about getting them covered when we’re outside or at the pool.

But lately, I’ve been a little paranoid about all of that baking in the sun when I was younger. So I went ahead and scheduled an appointment with a dermatologist to get my skin checked (the hubs went for one as well). I figured it was a good idea to get a baseline check to make sure all looked good, that way if there were any problems, I would catch them early. I’d also know that if anything new were to pop up, I’d need to get it checked out. Despite it being a super-weird office—the staff had just moved into a new location, which they were sharing with another doctor’s office and had no receptionist, just a bell to ring, weirdness—the doctor was great. Plus I had a great appointment, nothing looked suspicious, and she gave me some tips on keeping my skin protected. (Note: Even when using spray sunscreens, make sure you always rub it in.) She said I could probably come in every couple of years as long as nothing pops up in the meantime.

Even though I can’t undo the damage that’s already been done, I know that for now, my skin is healthy as a hog…or a wildebeest who wears sunscreen. And I’m even more encouraged, courtesy of the pale, pale dermatologist who raved about my hubby’s pale, pale skin, to keep on applying that SPF One Million. Because living long and cancer-free is way cooler than a tan anyway.

Have you always been good about sun protection or were you a bit careless in your youth? Have you been checked lately? —Erin

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  1. I once used spray-on sunscreen and failed to rub it in on a spot on my back, there were little dots of burn where it wasn’t covered! I am pale skinned so I try not to get too much sun at once or else I will burn even with sunscreen on.

  2. Better safe than sorry! Thanks for sharing

  3. Great advice! It’s good to pick a physical sunscreen (with ingredients such as zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) over chemical sunscreens as well.

  4. Dustin says:

    Great reminder. These days there really isn’t any good excuse for over exposure to the sun. We are all well informed, and the technology behind sunless tanning is so advanced, it doesn’t make sense to spend your day roasting to get dark, or spending a bunch of money in a tanning booth.

    I am nervous that sometime in the next 10-15 years there’s going to be a huge jump in melanoma cases due to all these teenage girls (some guys) hitting the booths 5+ times a week for years.

  5. Michelle says:

    I’ve definitely been a bit careless when it comes to skin protection. When I’m at the beach, pool, etc. I’m all for getting as tan as possible at all costs. I will even use tanning oil with an SPF of 8. So yeah, I should probably be a bit more conservative with the tanning, but bad habits are just so hard to break!

  6. Peter says:

    When I was younger,we didn’t have the education to cover up.I think a little bit of sun is ok, say 30 minutes, but I do tend to cover up or stay in the shade a lot more nowadays.

  7. Kimberly says:

    Thanks, Erin for great information! I think that damage level from the sun exposre depends on the area you’re located. For example, at the Black Sea coast I’ve almost never used the sunscreen. On the other hand at the Mediterranean coast, for instance Spain, without sunscreen you should not go there. I like to use sunguards that contain aloe vera. Sometimes I simply put aloe vera leaves on my burned skin.

  8. Jen says:

    So does your husband just have to stay out of the sun? I recently started having a big rash breakout on my neck if I am in the sun too long. One of my families favorite activities is the waterpark. We always where sunscreen but it doesn’t seem to help me. What does he do? Thanks