May is skin cancer awareness month, and I thought this would be the best time to share with you all my experience with skin cancer. I understand this is not a lighthearted subject, but it’s so important to bring awareness and to also share how we can protect our skin.
As a teenager, I was a designated driver for my grandma who not only had a rare heart disease, but was also paralyzed on the left side of her body due to a stroke. I drove her to a lot of her doctors appointments. I was homeschooled, so it helped my mom and other family members who were working. I was there in the room when the doctor told her that her first heart transplant was failing, and that she would have to be put onto a list for a second one. Not too long before that news, I was also in the facility when my grandma was told she had skin cancer spots. I watched my grandma go through rounds of skin cancer treatments where they poked and prodded at her face. She was the strongest lady I know. From then on I knew I wanted to start protecting my skin more.
I’m fair skinned, blonde hair, blue eyed, and prone to sunburns. Growing up, I spent a lot of time outdoors, but as a teenager, I knew it was time to start taking better care of protecting my skin when I was outside. So, I did, here and there. I made sure to wear hats when needed and longer sleeve shirts when in direct sunlight (like on my countless fishing trips), but I definitely knew I could be doing better. Right before my wedding I went in for a facial to prep for the big day, and my doctor went ahead and did a screening on my face to check for sun “spots”. While she did say that I did not have any major signs, there was potential for some of them to turn in the future, that I needed to take care of my skin and be careful. I no longer cared about getting a “tan”, I just wanted to have healthy skin. So, I started incorporating an SPF into my daily moisturizer. I also started to follow the directions on the sunscreen bottle when outdoors, like applying it every couple of hours, instead of just one time thinking that was all I needed.
Right after my wedding, my Dad started getting treatments on spots he had on the top of his head. I can still remember him feeling the pain of those treatments, and how painful they looked as they scabbed over. Having to keep up with the treatment, and the healing of it all was just something I never want to do, or hope to do. So, now I’m finding more ways to stay protected when I’m outdoors, because I’m seeing the importance of it after watching my grandma and dad go through treatments.
Not only did I want to share my experience with skin cancer, but I also wanted to share three ways to project your skin and to spread sunshine safely.
- SPF– This is kind of a no brainer, but even I forget just how important it is. Use a daily face moisturizer that has an SPF included. I also have a BB cream (which I use in replace of foundation sometimes) with an SPF as well. Applying sunscreen has to be a continual process if you are going to be outdoors for a long duration of time. It’s not a one and done when it comes to sunscreen, most of the time you should be applying it every 2 hours. Be sure to read the label on the bottle for best application and cover any exposed skin.
- Protective Clothing– I was so excited when Cabana Life reached out to me to be a part of the “spread sunshine safely” campaign. Cabana Life offers sun protective beachwear and swimwear with 50+ UV protection. A part of their campaign this month, you can enjoy $20 off your purchase with code SPREADSUNSHINE. Also, every Cabana Life purchase contributes to delivering free skin cancer screenings. Protect your whole family with the cutest beachwear and swimwear. I wore my tunic dress to the pool as a coverup, but also out to a park festival!
- Stay in shaded areas during the peak hours of sun– I know this can be difficult for people who work outdoors, but it is important to find your shade as much as possible during those peak hours of sun. If you can, be sure to wear your protective clothing. Include a hat, and sunscreen when possible!
Take precautions sooner rather than later. Start wearing SPF, and protective clothing NOW, and teach your kids at a young age to take the same precautions! Be aware that even some medications can make you more sun sensitive. I personally got a horrible sun rash while on medication and I wasn’t even outside for long! Be aware of the side effects! We all need that Vitamin D, but get it safely through a healthy diet. One last thing, be aware of changes in your own skin and don’t be afraid get your skin screenings. Enjoy the outdoors and spread the sunshine safely!
Thank you Cabana Life for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.