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Posts Tagged ‘melanoma’

Along with  Stonehenge and the ingredients of McDonalds special sauce, one of the great mysteries of life is how I can get a sunburn on my back and chest  when I’m wearing a tee shirt.  Turns out that a plain white tee offers  only an SPF5– and which drops to SPF2 when wet. This year I decided to try out  sun-protective clothing to enjoy the sunshine without  the burn. 

My first  outfit  delivered on its promise.  I felt cooler and did not develop even the slightest redness during a sunny all day hike in the Hudson Valley.  And my Tilley hat that was fortified with insect repellant was so effective I wore it long into evening as I grilled chicken and corn for a dinner with friends. But the style  left me looking like an extra  from George of the Jungle.  This  looked particularly strange on city streets. I got looks. 

I went online to find sun protective clothing that looked more like something I would normally wear.  I found Coolibar, a company that has a seal approval from  American Academy of Dermatology, Melanoma Foundation, and Skin Cancer Foundation.  Now that’s what I call credentials.

The fabric used in Coolibar clothing  is embedded with titanium or zinc oxides-two of my favorite sun screens while the weave is designed to wick away moisture  to make you feel  cooler and more comfortable.  This is especially important because the  tops all have long sleeves and the pants cover most of the leg.

I ordered a hot pink  long sleeve tee short ($39) and a pair of slim white pants ($79)–  an outfit not unlike my summer “uniform”  of white pants and slim tee shirts. Both items had 50UPF.   Adding a pair of  Chanel style ballet flats and my Tilley straw hat with a 50UPF, I roadtested  the outfit  looking for treasures at a large flea market on Columbus Avenue. Despite a pretty strong sun and temps in the 80’s, I felt surprisingly comfortable.    The only parts of me that got red were the tops of my feet that were not covered and where I didn’t use sunscreen.  My straw hat kept me cool and shaded.  It was not treated with insect repellant, but biting insects are not a big problem in the city.

I’ve found that  sun protective clothing is an easier way of  protecting the whole body from both UVA and UVB rays.  I might re-apply sunscreen once a day if I’m in a bathing suit, but certainly not the every two hours that is often recommended.   And I don’t think I  have ever reapplied sunscreen if I’m wearing a dress or skirt.   Sun protective clothing is a great option for strong sun conditions like sailing or watching a game.  Its especially helpful  if you have sun allergies or have  a personal or family history of skin cancer or melanoma.

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I’ve really bought into the daily sunscreen routinue for  my face, neck and hands, but I just can’t deal with  my ghostly white legs.  In past years I would find the nearest  park bench and toast my legs for a little natural color.  Now that I  know about risks for melanoma, skin cancer and that the sun makes my legs wrinkled and baggy, I’m always looking for a safe, affordable and easy solution.  I’ve tried so  many– moisturizers with self tanners, self tanning sprays, tinted moisturizers and   whole body air brush tan.  I liked this one but  it cost $65 and lasted only a week– not a regular option.

This week I think  finally found a great solution.    The winner is– Sally Hansen Salon Airbrush Legs.  It’s super simple to apply, doesn’t make a mess and produces a natural even color.  Check out the  pix.  The leg on the right is my untreated limb. Is it really that pale?  The leg on the left has been treated with a quick coat of  Sally Hansen Spray in ‘Tan Glow” shade.

Here’s how it works:

I prepped my skin with an exfoliating sponge ( Buff Puff by 3M) and set up a drop cloth in my garage to prevent the spray from coloring the  walls or floor.  So not necessary.  Instead of spraying directly at the legs, directions  told me to spray  it into my palm and apply  the product  with my hand.  I was able to see where I needed more and where I needed to spread  it out for an even color.  And not a drop went on the walls or floor.

Unlike  other self-tanners which had a chemical reaction  that changed skin color,  Sally Hansen Spray was really like a skin  make-up– and easily removed with soap and water.   In  face, water alone did not disturb it– good news since I  got caught in a downpour  a few hours after  I had applied it to my legs. I also tested out the claim   that  the product does not stain clothing.   After waiting  the recommended 60 seconds, I gave this tan  a tough challenge– white pants.  I slipped into a pair of white cropped jeans and was delighted to see– absolutely nothing.   The leg tan spray stayed put.

And to make this product even better, this elegant tanner is just $12 for a 4.4 ounce bottle.  I estimate there are at least  a dozen applications, a super bargain of $1.00/tan.  I will keep using it and will tweet the actual number of tans that I can get out of  a single bottle.    Sally Hansen Airbrush Spray is now a valued  member of my Summer Beauty Basics Kit.

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Now that  sun filled days are here, I am wondering  how much sunscreen do I really need to use.  Many expert recommend one tablespoon for the face and  a total of two tablespoons for  both face and body.   To test  it out, I  measured out one tablespoon  of sunblock and dumped it on a small plate.  Then I went to work, dabbing it  on my checks, nose, and chin. I avoided my bang covered forehead.   At first, things went fine.  My skin seemed very happy  with the  extra moisture  of the sunscreen.  But as I applied more and more, it started to pile up on the surface until it looked like frosting — or clown make-up.

One of my biggest concerns when using sunscreen has been wearing make-up over it.  Not infrequetly, foundation, powder or blush would turn dark and orangy when applied over sunscreen treated skin.  Looking at this photo, I can’t imagine where I would actually put the make-up.  Clearly this one tablespoon idea is not something that too many experts  have personally  tried out. 

Other experts  are suggesting a teaspoon or nickel size  blob of sunblack for the face. Moving on, I measured out one teaspoon of sunscreen and started  to put it on my face.  Starting near my eyes, I applied the cream to the sides of my nose and smoothed it over my chin and cheeks– and there it  sat.  And sat.  Rather than looking like frosting, it was more like mime make-up–  a hard look to  carry off.  I decided to see how long it would take to absorb.  After about 30 minutes, I still  looked a bit shiny but no longer like a mime wanna be.  I tissued off the excess and brushed on some mineral make-up.   It turned a bit darker,  but not something anyone else would notice. 

Maybe I’ve got a smaller than average face or my skin is not dry enough to absorb that much product, but one tablespoon for the face is ridonkulous.  One teaspoon  seems reasonable, if I  allow 30 minutes for absorption.  How much sunscreen do you use on your face?  Any appliction tips?  I’ve worked hard  to erase years of  sun aging and  I want to keep those gains.  Any  suggestions?

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This is what one tablespoon of sunscreen looks like on my face. 

One of my biggest concerns  when using sunscreen  has been wearing make-up over it.  Not infrequently foundation, powder or blush would turn dark and orangy when applied over  sunscreen  covered skin.  Looking at this  photo,  I can’t imagine where I could actually put the  make-up.   Clearly  this one tablespoon idea is not something too many experts have actually tried out.

Moving on, I measured out one teaspoon of sunscreen and  started to put it on my face.  Starting near my eyes, I applied the sunscreen to the sides of my nose and  smoothed it out over  my chin and cheeks– and there it sat.  And sat. Rather than looking like fluffy frosting, now it was more like mime make-up– not my best look.  I decided to see how long it  took for my skin to absorb it.  After a few minutes,  my skin began to feel warm– not nearly as uncomfortable as with one tablespoon, but still  it felt slightly irritated.

After 30 minutes, I looked   greasy, but no longer like a mime wanna be.  There was still quite a bit left on the surface. I wiped off the excess and  brushed on some mineral  make-up. It turned a bit darker, but not something anyone else would notice.

Maybe I’ve got a smaller than average  face or my skin is not dry enough to absorb that much glop, but one teaspoon is still alot for me to use every  morning– much less to reapply every few hours.  Every morning I have been faithfully been applying 3-4 dabs  of sunscreen, but now I calculate that   the total amount is less than 1/2 teaspoon.  I’ve worked so hard ( and spent some real  money) to erase years of sun aging.  I  want to keep those gains.  Now what?    Any ideas?

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How much sunblock  do you use on your face?  Most experts recommend one tablespoon for the face and two tablespoons for the whole  body.  I measured out  one tablespoon of a favorite sunblock  and dumped it on a saucer.  Then I started to apply it to my skin. At first  things were working normally.  As I applied it,  my skin was happy to absorb it.   Then as I applied more and more,  it started to pile up on the surface until it looked like frosting. ( or clown paint). 

It certainly makes you wonder how the “experts” came up with their recommendations.  Did any of them ever actually try out this quantity  before issuing the one tab guideline.  Seriously!  Not only did I look  like Bozo the Clown, my skin began to burn and itch.  I was so uncomfortable, I was gritting my teeth until I could take the shot and  rush to wash it off.

Even more troubling,  the SPF’s of a product are reportedly based on using one tablespoon on a face.  Since  it creates such a cream pile-up, I might as well wear a ski  mask for sun protection. I did a little more research and found that some dermatologists are  suggests using one teaspoon or a nickel sized dollop–  a much more realistic quantity.  I tried these out  and will post photos  tomorrow showing  what one tablespoon, one teaspoon and what I actually use, look like on my face.

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I really enjoyed  this warm sunny weekend.  I applied my usual 30SPF  sunscreen in the morning and was off to enjoy the day.  By 3pm  my sunscreen was  long gone as I walked through the first sun-filled street fair of the season.  By Saturday night my face felt tight and burned.  In the past I would have run for a bottle of calamine lotion or aloe  gel to cool the burning sensation.  This  time I turned to a more organic and scientific remedy — a box of  Green Tea.   

There are  impressive well designed studies that show Green Tea  can protect skin cells from sunlight induced genetic damage.  I brewed up a strong cup of  Green Tea and patted  a cooled   tea bag to my face.  I don’t know if this Green Tea rinse actually  reversed  my sun damage, but  by morning  my skin felt cool and comfortable.

My terriffic dermatologist, Ellen Marmur has made me  very concious of skin cancer and melanoma risks.  Did you know that one in five people will get skin cancer in their lifetime?  She was on the Today  Show this morning taking about  doing a  skin check  on  yourself .  You can more information  on this topic  at Melanoma Monday.org.

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