My almost 92 year old father has been battling pre-cancer and skin cancer since he was in his forties. As a young man, my father spent a lot of time outdoors in the South. Though his blue eyes are still bright and twinkling, and his skin is still rosily young for his age, he must undergo regular freezings, treatment with skin sloughing creams, and occasional surgery.
My mother, who could have been the model for beautiful Snow White, maintained her lovely complexion right up until she entered the illness that claimed her life. She, too, had an incidence of skin cancer,
So, here I am, product of the 70's, a time when we all slathered baby oil on our skins and baked until done. For someone with my skin genetics, this proved to be a bad idea. Fortunately, I quit lying out or trying to get a tan a long time ago. Even so, the effect of a youth spent in the sun is showing up on my skin.
I've decided to hit this head on. This fall, I'm tackling benign signs of aging, such as redness, as well as potentially more dangerous skin issues. Let's see if I make progress!
For my first step (after praying:)), I will use a sunscreen every day -- even in the winter, even when just popping out to walk the dog, even when making a quick run to the store, and even when just sitting at my desk by a sunny window. As an adult, I've been good about using sunscreen when I'm outdoors for longer than a half hour or so. I haven't been consistent with daily use, however. Now, my dermatologist has made it clear that consistency is the order of the day.
I use more than one brand of sunscreen, and I rotate sunscreens depending on what the day holds. However, this is the one my dermatologist particularly recommends for my type of skin (dry, sensitive). I plan to rely on it often:
I not only have the Likewise facial moisturizer/sun protectant, but also a Likewise moisturizer/sunscreen for the body.
Along with the two Likewise sunscreens, which I am already using, I purchased the Likewise face and body wash, as well. According to my dermatologist and the product label, this gently cleans and exfoliates.
Likewise products are said to be good for rosacea, as well, and it's possible that I do have mild rosacea. (That will be a second article). We'll see if these products clear away any bit of redness that the sun and time have painted on my face.
Step 2: Since I will be using so much sunscreen, I will need to check with my doctor about my blood levels of Vitamin D. I have been low in the past (along with everyone else in North America it seems.
A year or so ago, after reading a book about natural health, I tried to get all the Vitamin D I needed from the sun. I have the type of skin that can absorb all it needs in a mere 15 minutes. Unfortunately, I also have the type of skin that can begin to burn in 15 minutes, especially during Tennessee summers. So I have, for now at least, given up the idea that natural sun exposure is my best route to having great stores of Vitamin D.
Perhaps, you fare better in the sun. If so, you might remember this easy rule of thumb -- Fair skins absorb all the Vitamin D needed for a day within 15 minutes of sun exposure. After that, cover up and/or use sunscreens. Darkest ebony skins take slightly longer periods of time to absorb healthful sun, but only up to 30 minutes a day. No matter what your skin tone, it's not necessary to bake your skin to a crisp in order to reap the sun's benefits.
Step 3: I will stay in touch with my dermatologist. Today, my dermatologist took three small skin biopsies, and she applied liquid nitrogen to several spots. I also have some places on my arms that have been healing for three weeks, when she also applied liquid nitrogen.
Stay tuned for more experiments in skin care, as well as a recording of what progress I make.