Skin and Sun


Laura L. McAllister

            It’s payback time and your skin is calling in the loan.

            Many of us began sun worshipping as kids. Scooping up a bottle of suntan lotion or baby oil, and heading off to our summertime haunts of sea sprayed sand, placid lakes or pungently scented chlorinated pools in pursuit of the perfect tan, a Don Quixote worthy quest. Some of you are fortunate enough to be “Snow Birds”, escaping the arctic blasts and drab days, continuing your love affair with the sun in warmer climes.

            So how do we pay our skin for its arduous, dedicated work? In business terms, well below minimum wage. As we matured we asphyxiated it with cigarette smoke, intoxicated its functions with alcohol and just plain took it for granted. Like any worker who has given their all for more than half a century, our skin has a massive amount of cumulative grievances and is increasingly manifesting it’s anger by upping demands for proper attention with an alarming walloping rise in skin cancer for people over 50.

Approximately 90% of skin cancers are caused by the sun. According to statistics 40% to 50% of people who live to be 65 will experience skin cancer at least once, and we are living longer, increasing those odds. As one study shows, malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer, attacks 58.8% of the population over 60.

As a licensed Esthetician, trained by some of the best skin care companies, the women I encounter in my work, and more and more men, are most interested in appearing more youthful. Here again, some people opt for cosmetic enhancement from a dermatologist, or cosmetic surgeon, some the over the counter topical route. My advise to all, ALWAYS USE SUNSCREEN! We need the sun, it feels great and provides us with very important vitamin D, but stay in it sparingly, but used to excess or without protection, you are encouraging these pesky wrinkles to increase. Just remember that the ultraviolet rays penetrate cloud cover and window glass, which includes your car. Never even think about using a tanning bed, you can sooner sashay over to your local burger establishment and jump in with the cooking french fries. Hydrate – hydrate (good ole H2O is the ticket). Begin and stay with a gentle skin care routine, tailored to your skin type, exercise, eat well and visit your dermatologist regularly.

Now you will begin to repay that loan to your skin and it will yield wonderful profits to your health and beauty for the rest of your life!

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