Sun Savvy: 9 Tips For Enjoying Summer When You've Had Skin Cancer

Hey guys!  Something you may or may not know about me - I was diagnosed with melanoma at the age of 26.  Melanoma is a deadly form of skin cancer that is super serious, so I take every precaution I can as far as protecting myself from the sun's harmful rays.  I am 36 years old, which means I have been doing this for 10 years now.  We love various outdoor activities and we love to travel and go to the beach just like everybody else, I just have to do it safely.  Here are all of the things I use/like/do for skin cancer prevention and to ensure I'm taking the best care of my skin that I can.

Use sunscreeen:  Use some different ones, find a couple that you like, and USE IT.  I generally like to use a sunscreen on my face that is specifically formulated to use on the face, so that I don't get clogged pores and that sort of thing.  There is a lot of controversy with spray sunscreens, and while I do use and enjoy them I do pay special attention to how I use them.  Always take a big deep breath and hold it when applying, and try to do it outdoors or in a spacious room to avoid inhaling the product.  Favorites of mine include the Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Body Mist SPF 100+ and any of the Coola ones for the face.  Neither of these smell too obnoxious nor do they feel greasy.

Don't forget your scalp and hair:  I always have a couple of products on hand that are made for the scalp/hair and contain sunscreen.  The Nioxin Scalp Treatment is mainly formulated for the scalp and it has SPF 15.  The Alterna Hemp Organics is mainly formulated for the hair and it has UVA and UVB protection.  I use both of the products the same - I pump/squirt some into my palm and rub it on my scalp and throughout the length of my hair.  Even though my hair is thick and my scalp is not really exposed, you really can't be too safe.

Reach for other products that also contain sunscreen:  When I know I'm going outside I always reach for my can of sunscreen and give myself a good spray.  But, after I take a shower or a bath and I know I'll probably be going outside that day, I love my Tree Hut DD Cream body lotion that has SPF 20.  That way if I get busy and forget (yes, it happens) to put on my other sunscreen I have some on.

Hand creams with SPF are great to use (like all other sunscreens) all through the year.  I especially love keeping a tube of a hand sunscreen in the car, because when you're driving the backs of your hands are really exposed.  Not only do I not want skin cancer, this gal also doesn't want sun spots on my hands!

Use moisturizers/tinted moisturizers/BB creams that contain sunscreen:  Moisturizers that are specifically made for the daytime almost always contain some amount of sunscreen.  I love to throw little samples of facial sunscreen in my beach bag to reapply during a day at the pool or the beach.

Wear makeup that contains sunscreen:  If your foundation has sunscreen in it then it will most likely say it on the bottle.  Research different brands online if you are unsure, but this type of product really helps protect your face.  

Yes, even some concealers have sunscreen in them!  The area around your eye is so delicate and you REALLY don't want to tan that area, so the more sunscreen there the merrier!

A great setting powder for foundation/BB creams/tinted moisturizers is the Laura Geller Balance-N-Brighten Foundation with SPF 15.  You could use this on it's own, but used very lightly kind of dusted all over the face this gives you added protection.

One of my favorite drugstore brands, WetnWild, puts sunscreen in a lot of their products.  I've always enjoyed this lip balm as it feels and smells great, but you also get quite a bit of product for very little $.  Their Coloricon bronzers also have SPF 15 which is almost unheard of.  LOVE these.

Most mineral foundations have sunscreen.  Physician's Formula Mineral Wear blushes have SPF 30.

I have noticed with a lot of brands that certain items they have will have sunscreen and then others (in the same line) will not.  Not all Chapstick has it, but the Classic one in the black tube has SPF 4.  Not all of the Baby Lips seem to have it, but the Quenched flavor has SPF 20.  And, from what I can gather, not all EOS lip balms have sunscreen but the Lemon Drop one has SPF 15.  This is something you just have to look for or research.  My favorite lip balms to keep on me for sun protection are the Fresh Sugar Lip Treatments.  I have a whole collection of these!

There are drugstore and high end lipsticks available with sunscreen.  Again, not all of the Rimmel lipsticks have sunscreen, and I'm not sure if all of the Moisture Renew ones have it or not.  I have some from this line that do not say if they do on the bottom of them, but the Nude Delight shade  clearly states it has SPF 18.  The YSL Rouge Volupte lipsticks have SPF 15, but they do not say it anywhere on the packaging.  Not all brands and lines state on their packaging if they do in fact contain sunscreen, again, that's something you will have to research to be sure.

Wear silky, flowy clothing that covers but is cool:  When it's hot and humid out you aren't gonna want to throw on a parka and a pair of jeans to stay covered.  Light breathable fabrics that are silky and flowy are the best in my opinion.  I love silky blouses that I can roll up to the elbow.  The slinky fabric is not hot at all, and you still have a large portion of your skin covered.  Maxi dresses are great because they are long and cover most of your body without burning you up.  Silky kimonos are great to throw on with almost anything to keep your arms and shoulders out of direct sunlight.

Sunglasses aren't just chic, they also serve a purpose:  Not only do they shield your peepers from harmful rays, but they protect the area of your face that they cover as well.  Sunglasses are a true weakness of mine, I like every shape/size/color made.  The bigger the better!

Invest in some cute coverups for the pool and/or beach:  I live in a very sunny/hot/humid area of the United States, but when I visit really beachy/tropical locales I can tell the sun's rays are SO much stronger.  I obviously NEVER lay out to get sun, but I also try to keep my time in just a bathing suit at a minimum.  The first places I usually get sun are my shoulders and my chest, so I always try to keep them covered as much as possible.  Most of my coverups are from Victoria's Secret, they have so many styles that are so cute!

Wear a hat:  Like sunglasses, the bigger the better.  Big, floppy hats not only protect your head but they also shield your ears, face, neck, and shoulders (usually).  I have several of these, most of them are from JCrew and Target.

Fedoras and ball caps at least protect your head and face.  When I wear these types of hats I always try to position my hair so the tops of my ears are covered as well.

Sunscreen+coverup+hat+sunnies = a safe and fun day at the beach!

I hope you have a safe and happy fun-filled Summer!  Let me know if you have any questions!
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