07 May 2014

Because it's May...

Now, what kind of melanoma survivor would I be if I didn't write about Skin Cancer Awareness Month? If I have to tell you that skin cancer is scary shit, well, skin cancer is scary shit

It is so important to be diligent and cautious about sun exposure, however it is equally important that  you get out and enjoy the warmer weather. I think it is totally possible to be safe in the sun without sacrificing style. 

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to being safe in the sun and fashionably pale ::

|| A good general rule is to avoid the sun during peak hours, 10a.m. to 4p.m. Depending where you live, you may want to be even more cautious. I like to use The Weather Channel app to check the UV index. If it’s moderate or above maybe look for an indoor activity or find some serious shade.

 || Make sure you purchase a broad-spectrum sunblock, meaning it protects from UV-A and UV-B rays with a minimum SPF 30. My go-to sunscreen is Blue Lizard but I'm also really loving this stuff by L'Oreal for daily wear. Apply prior to sun exposure and reapply as directed. I like to spray my perfume after I’ve applied sunblock to help mitigate some of that distinct sunscreen smell.

 || Don’t forget about your head! There are sunscreen options available that are designed to be applied over hair to protect your scalp like this one by Nioxin. Hats are also a great option. Who doesn’t like an excuse to wear a big floppy sun hat?!

 || Wear sunglasses. Make sure they offer UV protection at 100%. Sunglasses are stylish and great for disguising your people watching efforts. ;) Remember, the bigger your frames, the better!

 || Wear beachy cover-ups. Look for long maxi dresses or linen clothing. These will look fantastic while protecting you from the sun.

 || Many lip balms are available with SPF, grab yourself one

 || Most makeup brands offer their foundations or BB creams with SPF. Make sure you look for those options; it’s a very easy switch for a little extra protection. I’m loving Dr. Jart’s BB Cream and Dior’s Diorskin foundation. Oh, and wear some nail polish, it actually provides a little UV barrier to your nail beds.

Now, that I have a daughter I really have to pay close attention to the messages I'm sending her as a woman. If I am teaching her that her porcelain white skin is beautiful why the hell am I going to apply sunless tanner or get a spray tan? I'm certainly not against them and think they are the way to go if you are craving a sun kissed look! To a young girl though, I think that can be confusing. SO. Mallory and I are embracing our pale skin because pale IS pretty! :) 

Many of the above tips also apply when you are protecting your little one's skin from the sun. With your baby, keeping their skin covered with clothing and shade is essential. You really want to avoid using sunscreen on their delicate skin. Of course, using sunscreen is far better than risking a sun burn, especially at such an early age. Minimizing sun exposure during childhood is key to preventing skin cancer later in life. 

Here is how we are keeping Mallory safe in the sun ::

|| Clothing. We are keeping Mally covered in lightweight long sleeves and pants. You don't want them to overheat, but this is the best line of defense against those harmful UV rays. (I like this romper with a little cardigan over it.)

|| Hats. She will be wearing lots of them. Mal isn't working with a whole lot in the hair department, so we have to be diligent in protecting her scalp. Most baby hats  also offer some protection to their eyes and face. 

|| No tiny baby swimsuits. Of course, they are absolutely adorable, but they just leave those precious baby rolls exposed. Chose a rash guard set instead! 

|| Sunglasses. Mal has a pair that will stay on and she leaves them alone for the most part. I want to get her in the habit of wearing them all. the. time. Ocular melanoma is no joke! 

|| Umbrella. We purchased an inexpensive umbrella to use in the yard or take with us. Shade on the go! ;) [We also use the canopy on her stroller.]

|| This one is kind of tricky and one you may not think about. While in the car, baby still needs to be protected from the sun. Buy a window shade and keep the carseat canopy up! 

||  If/when you do need to add a bit more protection by using sunscreen, only use products with micronized physical blockers i.e. zinc or titanium dioxide.  Avoid all long chemical name sunscreen ingredients. We keep California Baby sunscreen on hand. 

Lets work together to redefine beautiful as it pertains to skin. PALE IS PRETTY! 

Do you have any skin protection tips to add? 

Are you seeing your dermatologist regularly? I'm getting naked on May 15th. ;)

Portions of this post have been published previously on both Cancerwise and InDependent.

*I'm not a doctor! This is simply what I am doing for myself and my child to stay safe in the sun. 

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