When I was younger, I absolutely worshipped the sun. Every summer, I would strive to get the best tan that I could possibly get. I'd lay out as often as I could, I'd coat myself in baby oil (no SPF), go to tanning beds... I'd do whatever I could to have a tan. And then in my early 20s, I got skin cancer. Luckily, it wasn't Melanoma, which can spread to other organs and be deadly. I had Basal Cell, which is the most common type of skin cancer. I had to have it removed and I underwent a process called Mohs Surgery. And then several years later came another occurrence of Basal Cell and another round of Mohs. Because of my now "history," I am very good about getting my annual skin check. I certainly don't want more issues, but should I have them, I want them caught quickly and early.
I don't know about you, but I'm really not fond of having lesions and chunks of skin cut away, so I am now VERY conscience about being in the sun and especially wearing sunscreen (and if I could rewind to those earlier days and NOT be a sun worshipper, I would!). I wear sunscreen on my face every day (which is where both of my Basal Cells occurred), regardless of whether or not I plan to be outside, and if I am going to be outside, I always wear sunscreen on the rest of my body as well. And I take other precautions as well, like hats, the right clothes, etc.
Now I'm learning that while sunscreen is very important, it's also important to know what's in your sunscreen, as certain ingredients can be worse or better than others. I came across this article from the Environmental Working Group, or "EWG," which rates sunscreens and their ingredients on a scale from 1-5 with 1 being the best and 5 being the worst. They have what they consider to be the "safer" sunscreens broken down into groups of Recreational, Baby & Kids, Daily Use SPF, and they also have an explanation of how they came to these conclusions, definitions of what the ingredients are, and why they consider the harmful ingredients to be harmful. In addition, there is a searchable database where you can see how your sunscreen ranked and see exactly what's in it. I found it to be interesting.
As we're headed into Independence Day weekend and the thick of summer, I wanted to share this with you so that you can make decisions as to how to best protect yourself. The article and database can be found here. Have fun this summer, but be safe and don't forget your sunscreen!!!