When I was a kid my Mom used to be on my case all the time about lying out in the sun trying to get a tan. I was so hell-bent on achieving that golden bronze! Never mind the fact that I'm so pale that I'm practically reflective!
So I'd be out there, slathered in oil, boiling away, achieving … a nice lobster red! Definitely NOT that attractive golden bronze I was aiming for!!
Now that I’m older, I go to the dermatologist regularly, as everyone should, and my doctor is actually shocked that I haven't had any skin cancer pop up ... that is, not yet! I definitely have major damage. And if I were to step into one of UV-light photo booth things they set up at beaches to show people how dangerous sun exposure is, I’d probably break the camera! Plus, my Dad (who has a similar skin tone to me) has had Melanoma, Basal Cell and Squamous Cell, or a combo of them all at various times. One day I may end up needing some part of me sliced off. Well, let’s be honest … not “maybe” ... more like “most probably”.
So now I avoid the sun like the plague! Yeah, yeah, I know, a little too little, a little too late. But, how about that other quote … better late than never! I wear sunscreen with at least 70 SPF every day, rain or shine! If I know I’m going to be outside for any length of time, I’ve got my sunglasses, sunblock hat, walk on the shady side of the street and I NEVER try to get tan anymore! I'm basically living the life of a vampire, without all that messy biting and blood sucking, or having to sleep in a coffin.
I have tried those “tan in a bottle” products that are so conveniently placed next to the sunscreens at the drug store. But let’s be real … they suck! You don’t look tan, you look streaked, and this strange orange-brown color. I’ve also done the “professional” spray tan. (I put “professional” in brackets, because it’s usually some high school kid spraying you! I mean, they don’t exactly go to grad school to learn how to work the airbrush!) So, while those may look better than smearing the stuff from the drug store on by yourself and missing spots, they still end up flaking off in a strange way after a few days. Your clothing and bed sheets end up looking more tan than you ever did. Not to mention having to stand there naked in front of some stranger, while she sprays me with a cold mist that smells … well, not pleasant! So now ... I’m all about the pale!
I do wish I had listened to my Mom when I was young, though. (don’t tell her I said that! Mom, if you read this, skip this paragraph!) But what kid ever listens to their parent? I never really achieved that golden bronze. And I had to deal with painful burnt skin, and that oh-so-attractive peeling stage way too many times. If I had listened to my Mom, I wouldn’t have such damaged skin, or as many “fine lines and wrinkles” that no facial cream can take away, no matter what they claim.
So now I go get my skin checked every 6 months. I religiously wear my sunblock, sunglasses, hat, and I keep slathering myself ... in anti-wrinkle creams!