Friday, May 24, 2013

Happy "No Fry Day"

Hello all. :)

Long time no write.  It appears that I am a GREAT seasonal blogger, though I am not sure those truly exist. :) Fall and Winter are great for me. Spring and Summer I can't seem to get a minute to myself that doesn't involve the bathroom or falling asleep. Unfortunately,  I have this irresistible urge to take care of my children and make sure I contribute to the financial situation in my home. Just wait until I win that Power Ball. You guys will hear from me all the time. 

Today, the Friday before Memorial Day is known as Don't Fry Day.  (One of the things you can go through life NOT knowing until you are diagnosed with skin cancer.) It's a day to remind everyone to protect their skin while outdoors and to not go out and fry yourself  while enjoying your Memorial Day weekend. Therefore, I figured this would be the perfect time to finally share something with you that I've been withholding for a while. 

Surprised? Your thinking Miss TMI actually has some stuff she hasn't shared with me? 

Oh I got lots of "stuff." I am just not sure you can handle it all, so I share it wisely. 

What I've been keeping to myself is the picture of me below. Well the double picture of me. It was taken in my early 20's to show me the underlying skin damage that had already occurred, but was not yet visible. It was also done for free during a promotion for a skin care line at a former dermatologist's office.  The picture on the left is what I looked like to the naked eye. The picture on the right showed all of the lovely damage done to my skin from the wonderful Florida sun. 

It's not so much the sun damage that I am embarrassed of, it's more of my expression. I mean, you stick your head in this dark box and cover the back with a black curtain. It's not exactly the situation I would smile for. It's like having your driver's license picture taken. You want to smile, but you know if you do, you will just look like a doofus. (If you don't believe me, watch this smiling girl go inside the UV box.)  So you give the camera that mug shot look instead. There really should be some facial expression protocol for things like this. 

But back to the purpose of the photo, to reveal sun damage that was not visible to the naked eye. Remember, this was taken in my early 20's. Also remember, from my Tanning Come Full Circle post, that I would usually cover my face when laying out or wear hats while out on the boat because I didn't want more freckles.  So most of this damage occurred during my normal, everyday activities. 

At the time this picture was taken, my biggest concern was getting rid of my childhood acne which was making it's way into my new found adulthood and resulting in kids drawing pictures of their math teacher with spots all over her face. (Naturally, this happened when they were upset with me.) I had no idea that ten years later, after the birth of my children, some of those "hidden" dark spots would be visible. Today, my bare face is somewhere in the middle of those two pics. And let me tell you, ladies (and men), no matter what you pay for products that promise to erase your dark marks, those mofos aren't going anywhere. Sure, they'll fade a tad and as soon as a single ray of sunshine ricochets off the gear shift in your car, onto your face, the color will come right back.  

So today, I am taking a break from telling you how awful it is to get melanoma, how you don't ever want it, and how it is something that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy. Ok, I am sort of taking a break.  Today, I am appealing to your vanity.

 Let's be honest.  Until something happens to us, it is VERY hard to think seriously that it will happen to us. But we all want to look good, and if we are lucky, none of us will escape the aging process.  What most of us think as "natural aging" is actually a result of sun damage from our daily lives. Protecting your skin when outdoors and refraining from burning or tanning can make all the difference between looking old for your age and looking good for your age. 

So this Memorial Day weekend (and the rest of your life) while you are enjoying the official kick-off of summer, have fun in the sun, but please follow the following tips on sun safety from WebMD.

How Can I Protect Skin From the Sun?

Nothing can completely undo sun damage, although the skin can sometimes repair itself. So, it's never too late to begin protecting yourself from the sun. Follow these tips to help prevent sun-related skin problems: 
  • Apply sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 30 or greater at least 30 minutes before sun exposure and then every few hours thereafter
  • Select cosmetic products and contact lenses that offer UV protection
  • Wear sunglasses with total UV protection
  • Wear wide-brimmed hats, long sleeved shirts, and pants
  • Avoid direct sun exposure as much as possible during peak UV radiation hours between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.
  • Perform skin self-exams regularly to become familiar with existing growths and to notice any changes or new growths
  • Eighty percent of a person's lifetime sun exposure is acquired before age 18. As a parent, be a good role model and foster skin cancer prevention habits in your child
  • Avoid tanning beds

As always, thank you for reading and practice safe sun!!!