Thursday, August 25, 2011

sun spots, tanning and skin care

safe tanning, originally uploaded by ebbandflo_pomomama.
Those of you who know me IRL (plus dear readers of this self-absorbed blog and my flickr SPT series) will know that I am a red headed, befreckled survivor of malignant melanoma. What you're probably asking yourselves therefore is, why the heck is she spending a week in sunny south of spain in the height of the summer?
It's family, darling, family! and we're having a blast.
What we are doing though, is taking a lot of precautions with the sun, tanning, over-exposure and covering up. Where we're staying has an unshaded but coolish pool. The beach, 10 minutes or so away, is also unshaded. It's also not completely practical to sit around indoors (without airconditioning) and, since we're not a family of vampires, we have been outside during daylight ... but with precautions.
The Wee Guy, who is at increased risk of skin cancer simply by having a first degree relative melanoma survivor in his lineage, is slathered head to toe in waterproof Factor 50 before heading outdoors. This is topped up regularly, especially after swimming. He also wears a brimmed hat and long sleeves when practical. A long sleeve swim top increases time spent in the pool. Ditto for me! He shares my Neutrogena Factor 60 dry touch face block as it seems to agree with our sensitive skins very well.
As you know, sunburns during childhood contribute to most cases of skin cancer worldwide. As a survivor I'm also on a 'no tanning' directive so short of wrapping myself up like an egyptian mummy, mother and sun commonly appear greased up and 'a little overdressed' when outdoors.
So far it seems to be working (no burns) and yesterday we took our sunblocks for the ultimate test drive - the beach ;) Apart from being the most luminous bod in the surf, I think only my natural unshaved redheaded status attracted attention ...
When in Rome etc etc etc.

for those of you reading and thinking, geez - overkill, although melanoma can take up to 10 years to develop from a sunburn, survival rates are measured in weeks and months, not years. it is one of the few cancers rising in incidence and has, until recently, been incurable once metastasised. new immunomodulatory drugs such as vemurafenib and ipilimumab are showing promise but prevention is still key IMHO
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