If you grew up in the 70s or 80s, you probably have at least one horrific sunburn story. For me, it was when my entire face peeled after a trip to Jamaica at the age of 14. However, this was not an isolated incident. At some point in the summer, I remember picking at my skin and peeling it. Peeling my skin! I can still feel the discomfort of sleeping under my sheets and feeling the fire under my skin, tossing and turning all night. I used sunblock even then when an SPF of 8 was considered excellent coverage. I had friends who regularly baked in the sun with tin foil and baby oil and I joined in occasionally. I worked as a lifeguard every summer and I don’t remember ever running out of sunblock. Even in college, my friends and I bought sun tanning packages to get a base tan for our upcoming spring break trips. This was the norm in which I grew up.
Flash forward twenty years and I am a sunblock nut and rightfully so. My kids know this about me. I’ve had more than one serious skin cancer scare and now get a full body check every three months. I have scars to prove it. If either of my kids told me any of the above stories, I seriously think I would break down in tears. Just this March, I missed a spot on them while we vacationed in scorching Palm Desert. The pinkness disappeared by the next morning but I kicked myself saying, I cannot let this happen again.
As a parent, you can only protect your kids from so much. I can’t reduce their risk of most types of cancers, but I can help to reduce their exposure to the sun and skin cancer risk. When people hear skin cancer, I think they often take it lightly. Maybe it’s because we all know someone who has had skin cancer; it’s the most common type although often not serious. However, patients are getting diagnosed with melanoma at alarming rates in recent years.
OK, my PSA is over.
As you can see, I take my sun protection extremely seriously. I am always searching for the best products.
These are my favorites:
Sunblock: I’ve tried them all. I gravitate towards the mineral-based products for my kids. Note: If you are unfamiliar with the Environmental Working Group, please check out their website for safe and environmentally friendly products.