It has been sizzling here in Los Angeles, but as tempted as I am to bake in the sun to add some color to my white/yellow legs, I know that it’s not the smart thing to do. I’ve been pretty good about applying sunscreen and using makeup with SPF now for several years. I never wanted premature wrinkles. I’m going to get them anyway so I don’t see the rush in making them happen any sooner, do you? Second, I don’t want skin cancer.
Alright. I know what you’re thinking. Shouldn’t my list be the other way around? How vain am I? Wrinkles over cancer? Well, let me explain.
Like many Latinas and women of color, the belief was that we won’t suffer the consequences of sunbathing because we had good ole melanin to protect us from the sun’s evil rays. Having that myth nicely embedded into my brain, my only reason for applying sunscreen was for anti-aging purposes … Because somehow I did not make the connection that if the sun can wrinkle my skin, it can harm it as well (??).
Whatever the reason, I will say that I’m thankful for the younger, vainer me because – no matter what – I still used that sunscreen daily. According to the Melanoma Research Alliance, Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer, which is really enough reason to avoid tanning beds and sunbathing as far as I’ concerned. Once you’re in your 40s, your life-long self-care habits come back to either haunt or embrace you. That’s why it is so important to take care of your skin at an early age. If you didn’t do that, don’t fret. You can start now. And while you’re at it, you should definitely see a dermatologist to get more insight on the current condition of your skin.
In the meantime, here 5 simple sun protection tips:
- Wear Sunscreen – Do it daily and carry a bottle in the car – At least 30 SPF. It doesn’t matter if it’s cloudy or rainy either. UV radiation can damage your skin any time of the year. Reapply and reapply some more.
- Cover your skin – My mom goes a little over board with scarves. Granted her neck has not aged at all, you don’t have to go as far. You can grab yourself a few sun-protective stylish tops for surf shops. They have really nice tees and options for travel that have nothing to do with surfing and everything to do with skin protection. You can also just throw on a fabulous sun hat and a pair sunglasses. And wear gloves. Kidding.
- Avoid that noon sun – If you have to be out during the day, stay in the shade. It’s great for Vitamin D but really bad for your skin.
- Say no to tanning beds. The 80s are over. Indoor tanning beds increase the risk of melanoma for 75% and the number 1 new cancer diagnosed in women in their 20s. So-not-worth-it.
- Say yes to sunless tanners. These guys have come a long way. No more Chef-Boyardee glows. It’s how I’ve been curing my banana color leg syndrome.
L’Oreal Paris has been on top of their melanoma prevention game by teaming up with the Melanoma Research Alliance to help raise awareness. If you love a good drug store product, I suggest starting with them. You guys know how much I love L’Oreal Paris as it is. Their covers all basis from skin cancer prevention to the vanity needs of women (ahem, like me) who love a bronze glow. Give their Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Serum and Sublime Bronze Self Tanning Mist a try, and let me know what you think!