None For Gretchen Weiners

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Skin Cancer – It’s pretty much a bad time.

Since it’s summertime, I figured I’d talk about a problem that is plaguing millions of Americans: being pale in a bathing suit.

Don’t be afraid; you’re not alone. I mean, I’m not with you. I’m tan. But like, there are lots of people just like you. Just look around your local beach. You’ll see what I mean.

Not a good look.

Usually people attempt to remedy this condition with lots of fake baking or by just frying themselves in the sun for hours at a time using little to no sunscreen. This is no bueno.

I’ve been there. Since I’m Italian, I usually don’t need a very high SPF to keep my skin from burning. However, that’s only the case in Southern California. I found this out the hard way during a vacation in the Caribbean. A combination of stupidity and SPF 4 crushed my dreams of becoming a bronzed Bahamian and instead transformed me into the human equivalent of a sun-dried tomato. Apparently the sun gets stronger the closer you are to the equator. Who knew? (Everyone. Everyone knows.).

Thankfully, the good Samaritans at Ocean Potion know there are morons just like me around the world, and capitalized on our lack of geographical/solar/dermatological knowledge.

“Burn Relief ICE” (Read: “You’re hurting and you need me”)

I should have written Ocean Potion a freakin love letter (much like the one I did to Starbucks) for how much they saved me. I used an entire bottle of aloe the first night of that trip. Never again will I wear anything less than SPF 30 south of San Diego. Learn from my mistake.

Then there’s spray tanning. I’m not really a fan, which may be because I accidentally let my friend spray tan me into racial ambiguity.

She needed to learn how to spray tan for her new job at a salon, so I volunteered to be the guinea pig (as I type this I now realize how this was all my fault). I figured her boss would show her how to use the machine and then I’d get to leave, a little more bronzed than I was when I came in. Four coats later, I looked like this:

This bikini really doesn’t flatter my skin tone

But… I’m not kidding.

It was so embarrassing that I basically sprinted to the nearest shower and scrubbed my skin raw. Alas, despite my best efforts, I still kind of looked like Snooki (less pregnant though).

Let’s be honest: there are more bad spray tans than there are good ones. So if this is your method of ameliorating a pale situation, choose wisely and potentially don’t let someone who has never spray-tanned anyone use your body as a practice run.

However, the main reason why I want to talk about tanning is to nag the crap out of you more serious: skin cancer.

I love the sun. Although melanoma runs in my family, I decided at an early age that I was supposed to be born a mermaid and God made a mistake, so I spend the majority of my free time at the beach and in the ocean. This doesn’t really lend itself to protecting your skin from UV rays.

The difference between sun-kissed and death-sentence is all in how you protect yourself. You canget tan with sunscreen, it’ll just take longer. Patience.

SPF is going to be the difference between this:

Look how beautiful I am!

and this:

RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, CHILD!

Since I’ve inadvertently fried my skin a time or two, I knew I had to be extra cautious, so I started getting full-body screenings with my dermatologist. Highly recommended.

Anyway, this is my little PSA of the day. Being pale is a plight on society, but dying from skin cancer is probably worse. Lather up.

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This entry was posted on June 16, 2012 by and tagged , , , , , , .
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