Melanoma survivor: Pale is always in

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By Amanda Woodward

Because of my melanoma diagnosis, I consider myself a student of sun safety. I've learned to be diligent and cautious about my sun exposure while still getting out and enjoying the season.

However, there's a bit more to it than that. I needed to redefine beautiful as it pertains to skin. As a teen, I saw my peers tanning and was very much aware that tanned skin  was their idea of attractive. Thankfully, society seems to be moving to a place where we see pale skin and consider it healthy, beautiful and classic. I'll take that!

Here are some of my favorite tips and tricks to being safe in the sun and fashionably pale:

  • A good general rule is to avoid the sun during peak hours, 10a.m. to 4p.m. Depending where you live, you may want to be even more cautious. I like to use a mobile weather  app to check the UV index. If it's moderate or above I look for an indoor activity.
  •  Look for a broad-spectrum sunblock, meaning it protects from UV-A and UV-B rays with a minimum SPF 30. Apply prior to sun exposure and reapply as directed. I like to spray my perfume after I've applied sunblock to help mitigate some of that distinct sunscreen smell.
  • Don't forget about your head. There are sunblock options available that are designed to be applied over hair to protect your scalp. Hats are also a great option. Sun hats and baseball caps look especially great during warmer months.
  • Wear sunglasses. Again, make sure they offer UV protection at 100%. They are very stylish and great for people watching at the beach. Remember in sunglass fashion, the bigger the better.
  • Sport beachy cover-ups. Look for long sundresses or linen clothing. These will look fantastic while protecting you from the sun.
  •  Many lip balms are available with SPF, grab yourself one. Hydrated lips are always a plus.
  •  Ladies, most makeup brands offer their foundations or BB creams with SPF. Make sure you look for those options; it's a very easy switch for a little extra protection.  Oh, and wear some nail polish, it provides a little UV barrier to your nail beds. 

If you are really craving a sun kissed look, there are some great sunless tanning lotions on the market. They can be quick and easy to use, but more importantly they don't expose you to damaging UV rays. But remember, pale is beautiful and pale is always in.

If you're going on a spring break trip, have a fantastic time and please, be safe in the sun.

Amanda Woodward now lives in Alaska with her husband, daughter and two dogs. Read more about her on her blog.

1 Comment

I have found the best clothing options for protection from the sun at sungrubbies dot com. I am not affiliated with them, just a customer that has had skin cancer in the past.

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