Oh hey. Oh, right-I have a “blog” that I should try to write on now and then. Life has been insanely hectic. It’s so much that if someone were to ask “What have you been up to?” I wouldn’t even know where to start. And that will likely continue for a few more months.
I’ve had some idea of things I’d like to blog about, then the moment passes and I decide that if I have the free time, it’s best used to see a friend or two, have a massage and make sure Netflix is still ok.
So I thought I’d sit down for a few and talk about sunscreen and how little I care if you use it or what kind you use. And my personal sunscreen journey.
I grew up with a pretty vain father which is unusual, it turned out. He loves to tell stories about how he only got his first job because his mother set a limit on what they were allowed to spend on clothes.Beyond that, she made their clothes herself. He was interested in stylish clothes as a young person; he was concerned about his appearance.
By the time I was old enough to remember, I remember a handful of things about my dad: He was mostly never home during the week. On the weekends in the summer it was-get up <mow the lawn < wash the cars < layout to get a tan. I bet your heterosexual father did not “lay out”! Using the old Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning oil (SPF 5!! still love the smell of that stuff) he would lay and sweat and bake and get his tan on so he looked ‘rich’ for his work week.
I was a daddy’s girl like a lot of girls only, more in the way I wanted to be like him, more so than wanted his affection/attention. So I would oil up and try to stick it out next to him. Which I could never do. I would just “go inside to get a drink” and return, lay down for five minutes, repeat (I never did like being hot) but I did like the sun and tanning. He was stoic and would just pour with sweat for an hour or two then be done.
Of my siblings, I tanned most easily and rarely ever burned. I am still very olive complected. My maternal grandfather was naturally very dark complected for a caucasian man. Over the last few years, some of my family and I have suspected he was Melungeon and that would explain a lot including some of my naturally olive coloring. In spite of being more than half German in heritage. (Results for google image search)
When I was 16 (late 80’s) tanning salons were beginning to be a thing and one just happened to open in my town. It also happened to be half way between where I walked to and from school. And with one note one time (A note! On paper! That my mom, whom the tanning salon didn’t know, accepted as permission for me to tan-forever!) that my mom gave me as permission to tan for like a week before Homecoming, I was allowed from then on to tan at that salon. And I did. Several days a week.
When I got into the skin care biz (1991) it was still considered healthy to tan. Which is so cringy now, I know. The first all skincare-only Spa I got a job at had a tanning bed for clients and of course, I used it as often as possible. Up until age 34, I off and on tanned pretty regularly. Not like, crazy dark tan but a maintenance plan of once a week on a decent base..
I remember a client back then trying to warn me, that all that tanning wasn’t going to end up being good for my skin. But like, I was 20 and super hot, man. She was obviously just jealous of my youth. Same as the lady who told me around the same time that I would live to see the day when I could not work on my feet all day long in high heels. Pshh. Jealous.
(I have not had a heel on since 2007)
Back to the tanning. By this time, my father was around the age I am now (early 40’s) and he still looked GREAT. Like, no age spots, not leathery, nothing other than what anyone would consider normal signs of aging so I was just like “fuck it, I look fine, he looks fine-proceed”
The summer I turned 34, I had a pool pass in my neighborhood for the summer. The woman I was dating had younger children than mine so we were basically at the pool everyday if even for a couple of hours to wear them out and get a little laying around time. I’d used retin-a off and on for years but by 34 was starting to get a liiittttle nervous about my aging and picked it up again. That’s right-I decided to start using retin-a in the summer, when I was at the pool daily. YOLO.
At this same age/stage I was noticing the fine white vellus hairs all the sudden appearing en masse on the sides of my face. Like an old person. Being that I am a waxer, that was a no brainer.
I. Waxed. My. Face. While. Using. Tret. And. Regularly. Visiting. The. Pool. In the summer.
Because those parts of my face are tougher, I had no waxing mishap. Initially. No skin lifting, no redness/inflammation, etc. So the next day (probably having applied tret the night before) I went to the pool.
And that day was a loong day. High sun, all day (reapplying sunscreen generously, as if it even mattered at that point). I got “great color” that day. I mean, I can tan. For real. I tan with generously and regularly applied sunscreen. I don’t know what to say.
The next day I was looking at my face and noticed that the areas I waxed were brown. And not in a “man, I got so tan my whole body is brown” way, in a “man, my whole body color is amaze and……WHAT THE FUCK IS ON MY FACE?” way.
I spent that summer trying to get rid of/lighten it. WHILE STILL GOING TO THE POOL MULTIPLE TIMES A WEEK AND HURR DURR WHY ISN’T THIS GETTING BETTER.
Don’t forget, the shoemaker’s children never have any shoes.
By the end of that summer I realized I made a terrible mistake and that was the end of my sun bathing, tanning-all of it. I have worked on those patches off and on for years. I have only more recently felt like at least it’s not noticeable to anyone but me but it is still fucking there.
Before I go on (and I will) I want to point out in all those years, I was firmly convinced I was aging well and was not seeing (much) skin damage. Yea, maybe I had some freckles here and there that seemed darker on various body parts but overall I was fine, guys.
Except, as time went on and my “natural” skin coloring slowly began to appear (it took a long time. I am just never ever going to be porcelain. Not that I want to be. But as a marker, it’s not a color my skin is capable of being and I am obviously fine with that) I realized A) prior to being in your/my mid 30’s you actually don’t yet see your full scope of damage. That shit doesn’t start marching all over you until about 38-40. (This has been corroborated by many other ‘olds’. It then promptly propels forward, forever. ) and B) I had just been willfully ignorant of the fact that the tanning was covering up what the fuck I had done to my skin.
I had ten million freckles on my arms and legs. Last I had seen them, there were like 3 per appendage. I’d pulled the wool over my eyes in such a big way. Ug. And then I noticed the faintest of sun spots. On my face.
Now my father does not have them but oh god, my mother does. She is pale and light haired and light eyed, the opposite of me. And she stayed out of the sun her whole life and has “maturity spots” fucking everywhere.
I have many friends of all ages and I have noticed , of my older friends-the real ugly (I know I should use a better word but, it is what it is) sun spots really wake up and SHINE in your 50’s. JFC. Stop this train, I want OFF.
Needless to say, my routine the last few years has been hyper focused on brightening. I would say that just about every step of my skincare routine has ingredients intended for brightening/lightening spots. And that will never, ever end for me. It won’t be a place to “achieve” in my skin care goals. It will be a fucking battle I will never stop fighting because I DO NOT WANT those big brown spots on my face. Omg. I get anxiety thinking it could happen.
Japanese sunscreens really made a big impact on me. Prior to discovering them, I would always wear sunscreen when I was going out for decent periods of time in full sun. But I would have never imagined I could wear any of them and say, wear makeup too. It was an either or situation because sunscreen is fucking awful. I always used various Neutrogena sunscreens for my face in particular. Paying ridiculously high prices for them. They did their job fine but, would always cause me breakouts a couple days later. (cystic)
So Japanese sunscreens really got me into even trying to find ‘cosmetically elegant’ daily sunscreens. And I still have a rotation (which includes Japanese and Korean for face and 10/10 stick with western physical sunscreens for body cuz nobody gots $$ or time for asian sunscreens on the body) depending on the day or what I am doing. I still mostly only use Biore Watery Essence if I need to like, be an adult and wear makeup in the daytime or the UV Rich Biore under makeup in winter. But with the rest of the sunscreens I rotate, I just throw in the towel and chose sunscreen over makeup and go on with my life.
This summer I have added 3 more to the rotation. 50 Megumi Morning UV Protection Cream SPF 50+ Pa++++ (chemical/physical combo), Innisfree Eco Safety Perfect Waterproof SPF 50+ Pa+++ (which I think is being replaced/discontinued which is “neat” because it’s done well in hot/sweaty conditions. Physical) and
Innisfree Eco Safety No Sebum Sunblock SPF35 (physical) because, why not. Ninja edit : Holy fuck, I had admittedly not tried this yet (I have all the others, swear) assuming it would be similar to the other Innisfree one I had. NO. ABORT. ABORT. Unless you enjoy the chalkiest of white casts.
One thing I have learned is, every single sunscreen breaks me out eventually. Not in the cystic way most western ones do. But, small pimples that appear a couple days later that go away quickly so, like-what am I going to do? I am just not willing to keep chucking money at sunscreens forever. There are a dozen others I have tried that I haven’t listed and, someone has to stop this insanity.
I also have had surprisingly good results with Biore Watery Essence outside and sweating. I have no answer as to A) why “indoor” sunscreen exists (something-something, your computer monitor. Like. I literally cannot) and B) why this sunscreen works for me in spite of the fact it is apparently for nighttime. ( /s)
I believe it is my skin/skin tone that is partially the reason. I don’t really burn ever so I would not get that visual/sensation and am not getting darker. I am not scaling Eyjafjallajökull (ya, say that three times fast) , I don’t live anywhere near the beach and my sun “activities” are limited to: walking to and from a car, shopping at an outdoor mall, shopping at an outdoor mall on vacation, and an occasional festival/outdoor concert. So, it works fine for me. I also apply Vit C serum before my sunscreen, as my C step is in the A.M. If I feel I actually got some sun/there was a sun effect I read a study that said applying C every 8 hours after exposure significantly reduced age damage. (except they used more sciency words).
This is all to say, I don’t care even a little bit what you do. Wear sunscreen, don’t wear sunscreen-I don’t know your life. My message today is; youth is wasted on the young. So why the fuck would you listen to me anyway even if I told you it was a really good idea?