Sunday, July 15, 2012

Avoiding Sun Damage & Using Natural Make-Up

Although the focus of today's Summer Blog Challenge is to share make-up tips or routines, I'm not going to focus as much on what I do in terms of make-up as much as what I don't do anymore.

From about the time I was 13 years old to well into my 30s, I would either sit outside for hours each summer or go to tanning salons so my skin would appear tanner than it actually is (I have very fair skin). The tanning salons saved time which was important when I was in college and later holding a full-time job, and didn't have a lot of spare time. The results also were quicker, and I could get a deeper tan than sitting in the sun.

When I was a teenager and still living at home, I was very impatient at the start of each summer...I wanted color right away. So I would - when my parents were gone - pull out the tub of vegetable shortening (the white solid kind that is found in the baking aisle in grocery stores) or baby oil (which my friends recommended) - and put that on my skin.

I would sit out and "tan," and go indoors after several hours. When I looked in the mirror, I always was red as a lobster. My parents, of course, were horrified when they came home to see that my skin had turned an unnatural shade of red. Thank goodness I don't have any pictures of what I looked like. I'm sure it was not attractive.

My reasoning was that if I burned, then the burn eventually would turn to tan skin (which it did).

Throughout the summer I wouldn't wear suntan lotion. Why bother? I wanted darker skin rather than the pale skin I was born with.

This continued well into my 30s...until I attended a women's health expo. At the health expo there was a booth where you could sit down, rest your chin on a little ledge (like the kind at the optometrist for a glaucoma test), and look into the mirror.

The technician then turned on the ultraviolet lights. The image I saw in the mirror went from a normal view to one that I was incredibly shocked by. The image below is very similar to what I saw...except my face was even darker with more blotches...some larger parts (like the cheeks and forehead) were solidly-colored:

Proof that a Tan Never Fades
A special ultraviolet camera makes it possible 
to see the underlying skin damage done by the sun. 
And since one in five Americans 
will develop skin cancer in their lifetime, 
what better reason to always use sunscreen, 
wear protective clothing, and use common sense.

What the image in the mirror shows is sun damage to your skin. The damage isn't something that you can see with your eyes - it only can be seen with ultraviolet lights.

Needless to say, from that moment on I changed my lifestyle as well as make-up routine. No longer was I striving for the tanned face that needed minimal make-up.

At this point, I'm aiming to protect my skin from further damage. No longer do I sit in the sun for hours at a time or work outside in the middle of the day with no sunscreen and sleeveless shirts.

Although my legs are usually bare (because of wearing shorts), I tend to wear clothes that even cover my arms in the summer.

I use a rose-water spritzer on my face before using an all-natural lotion (either Lavender-Patchouli by Mirasol Farm or Lavender Body Cream by Watkins). At night, periodically, I use a night cream by Watkins.

At some point, I want to switch over to using all-natural make-up. I have not done that yet, but would like to within the next six months (when my current make-up will run out).

I'm hoping that by being smarter about caring for my skin that it will look better (and younger) when I'm older than if I was tanning excessively.


MommyFerg02 said...

I remember doing the same thing as a teenager. People think tans are so attractive but they don't realize the damage they are doing to their skin. Great post! :)

Domestically Seasoned said...

WOW, its so shocking to me that people would sit in a tanning bed. It really is un-natural. I always put 30spf on my face, arms, neck and back every day!

FrugalFoodieMama said...

I was fortunate in that my mother was the office manager for a dermatologist's office when I was a teenager. I was warned against the dangers of UV rays from an early age. Not to say that I still didn't visit a tanning bed here and there, but I haven't been to one in YEARS now. And I was one of those people who wore SPF into the tanning bed when I did go, lol!

Kassie Groll said...

I was always one of those really fair girls that wanted to get a tan. I think I've only been to a tanning bed less than 5 times and laid out n the sun also less than 5 times. People still give me crap for being so fair but I'm finally accepting it to the point that this is the very first summer I've been wearing shorts and dresses.

Dorky Crystal said...

Oh, wow! I knew about sun damage, but I didn't know it was that severe. It's a good thing I don't visit the sun too much, although I know a little bit of it is good for me.

Melissa Say What? said...

Wow! I did the same thing as a teenager and even more so in my early 20's. Some of my family members are still doing it in their 40's and they look like they're 60...but they have a tan. What's that worth? Nada. I'd rather be pale.

Rita said...

I remember using baby oil and coconut oil and tanning. Looking back I am glad I hated the heat and couldn't stand to tan as much as my friends did. I didn't do it for as many years as they did, either. Back then I wished I could--but now I'm glad I didn't. I probably did enough damage as it is.

My dad was in the navy and all the guys ran around without shirts on deck. He was deeply tan all the time for four years. When he got older he has been fighting skin cancer from the waist up for many years. He's had so many pieces of skin cancer removed that he has lost count! so, it is a dangerous thing to do. Who knew, though?!

Great post! I have never seen the photos like that. I'd be scared to have it done!

Anna @ Cozy Corner Crochets said...

I'm glad you stopped putting yourself in the harmful rays of the sun. Both my father and my husband have had skin cancers. I wonder if there is any coincidence that they were both in the Navy?

Shayla Burks said...

Both of my parents have had melanoma spots burned off of their ears and cheeks. I also would burn at least once a summer. I'm proud to say my daughter will not go outside until she has a layer of sunblock on. :) at least our damage turns over to her as knowledge