Attention Snookies of the World: Skin Cancer isn’t just for Old People!

7 Nov

Unlike some employers, skin cancer does not discriminate based on age. We are all at risk. I hate to get morbid to get my point across, but I just lost a family friend to skin cancer. She was only 32 and she was the mother of four children. It was tragic and completely unexpected.

Skin cancer victimizes people of all ages, so please protect your skin. No one is immune and there is no excuse. In the time it takes to update your mob in Mafia Wars (or whatever you do in that game), you can slather on some sunscreen (or have a cute boy help you) and start your day.

It scares me that so many people list their favorite hobbies as ‘getting sun’ or ‘tanning’. Keep that up and down the road your hobbies may be ‘mole removal’ and ‘chemo’.

I know, tanning is seductive. We’ve all been there, laying in the sweltering heat for hours, lathered in oil and rotating at intervals, like a pig on a skewer. Later you’re sunburned and in severe pain, yelling at anyone that tries to hug you, ‘DON’T TOUCH ME, I’m sunburned!’ Then you’re rubbing yourself down with aloe vera, taking cold showers and crying ‘Why did I do this to myself?! Never again!’

But then your sunburn peels off and you have a tan. You think, Wow, I look great! And you’re off to the pool again, not to practice your breaststroke, but to bake like a batch of funfetti cupcakes.

You might have an awesome tan now, but all that sun exposure wrecks havoc on your skin. It can make your skin unnecessarily leathery and wrinkly when you’re older. So if skin cancer doesn’t scare you straight, maybe your vanity will?

I agree, many people look better with a little tan. But they don’t look better when they are TOO tan, or much darker than their natural skin tone. My mom is from the Philippines, a land where many people try to avoid the sun, not bask in it. When she notices I’m a bit tanner, she exclaims “Wow, you’re tan!”

My natural reaction is often, “Thanks!”

Then I remember who I am talking to and before I can explain myself, she says,

“That wasn’t a compliment.”

Filipino or Russian, Beach Bunny or Eskimo, here are some simple and fool-proof tips to protect your skin while you’re taking in those rays.

1. Wear broad spectrum sunscreen every single day. Broad spectrum sunscreen helps block out both UVA and UVB rays. The sun shines year round, so you and your precious skin are at risk every day, not just during the spring and summer. Clouds are no match for UV rays and you are no match for skin cancer.

2. Wear sunscreen with antioxidants (like Vitamin C, E, Green tea extract, etc). Many sunscreens now have antioxidants in them, or you can wear a separate antioxidant cream underneath. My favorite is Alba Aloe and Green Tea Oil-Free Moisturizer. It is certified organic, inexpensive and you can find it at any drugstore. Another great drugstore cream is Avalon Vitamin C Renewal Creme.

3. Wear hats and UV protected sunglasses. Are you noticing a pattern here?

Kim got the memo on sunglasses, but forgot her sunscreen!

4. If you want to tan, use self-tanner. And if you have used self-tanner, wear sunscreen over it. Self-tanner is the safest tanning option, much better than the sun, or dangerous tanning beds (aka cancer boxes). But it does make your skin more susceptible to the sun than usual, so layer on that sunscreen.

Self tanners have come a long way and there are some really good ones that give you a natural looking tan vs. the classic tacky orange nightmares from the past. Jaundice is not a good look on anyone. 5. Keep a close eye on your moles and the moles of your friends and family. I know, it sounds weird, but we think its nice when someone tells us we have spinach in our teeth. So why not when a mole looks irregular? I have definitely told people if a mole they have has changed or looks irregular. You want to catch these things right away, and if anything seems strange, get thee to a dermatologist. Click here for more information on how to examine your moles:

6. Don’t be so intimidated you skip all this and run to the beach basted in I Can’t Believe It’s not Butter. The sun is really strong so for those of you who are tan happy, rest assured, you will still tan if you wear hats, sunglasses and sunscreen.

And don’t feel guilty about sun exposure in general. Sun intake  is healthy in small, daily amounts because it provides us with much needed Vitamin D. Dr. Oz recommends getting 10-15 minutes of sun a day, while wearing sunscreen on your face and hands. But in this case, more sun is not better, so don’t applaud yourself for 8 hours of extra credit/sun exposure .

The skin is the body’s largest organ. So please, take care of it now, so you don’t look like a wrinkly Tanorexic sooner or later.

For up-to-date information, check out these resources:


6 Responses to “Attention Snookies of the World: Skin Cancer isn’t just for Old People!”

  1. Teri November 11, 2010 at 7:57 pm #

    Okay, I have to ask…what is the “Slow Clap”? A category I have not heard of…

  2. Sister Earth Organics November 12, 2010 at 4:32 pm #

    very well put! this post says it all (and includes oompa loompas as well!!)
    Love your site!

  3. Stop Being a Loser November 12, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Hi Teri!

    It’s probably something we should have explained from the get go haha! You know in movies, particularly high school movies, when one person starts slowing clapping and nodding their head and then other people slowly join in until a whole crowd is clapping? It is usually at the cheesy turning point in the movie where all of the sudden people decide to stop being close minded jerks and like the nerd or whatever. Well that cliche cracks us up, but here on the blog the category is for stuff we think is awesome that hopefully other people will start slow clapping to also.

  4. Stop Being a Loser November 12, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    Thanks so much!! 🙂

  5. molls225 November 14, 2010 at 8:41 am #

    I could not agree with you more (although it is easy for me to say this because I have red-head skin that doesn’t tan, not matter what!) I have used self-tanner in the past and while I like it because it is the ONE thing that helps me not look like a vampire, my fiance complains whenever I wear it because it smells so bad. Also it tends to come off when I am working out or on my towel after I shower. Do you have any insight into which of these lotions work best? Thanks!

  6. Loser 2.0 November 14, 2010 at 3:02 pm #

    Self-tanners are notorious for being smelly and rubbing off on sheets and towels. Is it so much to ask for a self-tanner that doesn’t smell and stays put?! I highly recommend Clarins Self-Tanning Mild or Self-Tanning Gel. They accomplish the same natural color, but they are different consistencies. The milk is creamier (aka requires more time for you to sit around naked while it dries). The gel is much more lightweight and dries quicker. They don’t have that typical awful smell and they give you a really nice natural color. I always self-tan when I know I have a couple hours to kill. That way you can let it fully dry while you prance around in your skivvies. After a couple hours the color is fully set and you can wash off any residue in the shower if you’re concerned about your sheets, etc. Remember not to exfoliate after self-tanning because that will just take the color off and then all that skivvy prancing was for nothing!

    My abso fave product is Jergens Natural Glow. It’s half self-tanner/half moisturizer, so you can use it everyday to maintain a tan, or create a more subtle one. Kills two birds with one stone (hello multi-tasking moisturizer!) Plus, it doesn’t smell at all like self-tanner (it actually smells good) and you can cut out the skivvy prancing with this one. Plus, it’s super cheap! You can get it at any drug store.

    Thanks for sharing. Hope this helps!

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