We grew up during a time where there wasn’t much awareness and education on the harms of the suns rays and the importance of wearing sunscreen. Instead of reaching for an SPF, my friends and I were running towards the sun. I used to lather myself in my self-made tanning spray, Coca Cola and Baby Oil, and roast under the sun for hours. While I looked like a Bronzed Goddess, the amount of damage I was doing to my skin was actually really terrible. But to be honest, it wasn’t until 2011 when I had a skin care scare that really woke me up.
I was on vacation in San Andrés, Colombia when I started getting these large white spots on my face that wouldn’t tan. I looked like a leopard. I went crazy googling what could possibly be wrong and diagnosed myself with Tinea Versicolor. Thanks WebMD. Tinea versicolor is a fungal infection of the skin. It’s caused by a type of yeast that naturally lives on our skin. When the yeast grows out of control, the skin disease, which appears as a rash, is the result. Because I was in a hot climate, and not taking care of my skin, I triggered the infection.
Now, this was the summer after college, so I was unemployed and uninsured. I took matters within my own hands and tried to kill the fungus on my own by applying vinegar directly onto my face. Magically, over the course of several weeks, my skin was getting back to normal. Don’t do this. Seek professional help.
About a year later, I was planning a trip to Panama and I was worried that I would get the same reaction so I finally decided to go to a dermatologist. When I showed her pictures of what my face looked like, she confirmed that it was Tinea Versicolor. She put me under an ultraviolet light and was shocked that I had actually gotten rid of most of the fungus myself, but I ended up needing a topical anti-fungal cream to take care of the rest.
I was so scared of the sun from that point on that I made a promise to myself to use SPF every single day, rain or shine.
Last night I was reminded just how important it is to #wearsunscreen when I went to an event with Supergoop!. The founder, Holly Thaggard, brought us back to school and gave a crash course on Sun 101.
Here are some key takeaways.
Did you know?
1 in 5 Americans will be diagnosed with skin cancer. Melanoma is the most dangerous form of it, and a person’s risk doubles when they’ve had more than five sunburns. Melanoma is the #1 most diagnosed cancer for women between the ages of 25 and 29, and one person dies from melanoma every hour, every day.
The sun and its UVA (aging) rays are always shining.
90% of the signs of aging are caused by the sun.
SPF is the #1 thing you can do for your skin. You need a broad spectrum SPF that protects you from both UVB (burning) and UVA (aging) rays anywhere between SPF 30 and 50. Any SPF over 50 doesn’t protect you from much more of these rays, and it contains way more harmful chemicals.
A nickel-sized amount of SPF is enough for your face, but then you need about a shot glass full of it for the rest of your body. And no, SPF in makeup is NOT enough.
Reapplication is key. You have to reapply.
Is sunscreen a part of your daily routine already? Let me know in the comments!