Of Sunshine, Sunscreen and Skin Cancer

This spring has been miserable, rainy and cool on most days and those of us who need to get a good dose of vitamin D or risk the softening of bones and/or low blood calcium, have been finding it darn hard to sit around in the house and cry over the falling rain.  Boo Hoo!

I’m trying to feel optimistic about the sunshine we’ll have this summer.  It’s lead me to have conversations that include words like ‘shut up’ and ‘we will too have a sunny summer and that is usually followed up with either another ‘shut up’ or a desire to drop kick the sumbitch who’s trying to break my delusional view of the way things WILL be this summer!

The problem with my desire to have a sun kissed summer vacation is that my pasty white Irish/Scottish skin doesn’t tan very well.  In fact if this summer repeats the same habits of all my past summers, I shall be walking around with crispy red skin saying ‘owwie’ over and over again and of course there shall be the odd very loud and shrill scream of agony if someone smacks my sunburn, which someone (Hubby) will because they’re jerks who think it’s funny!

Now at this point you’re rolling your eyes and wondering why the hell someone like me who has previous knowledge of my tendency to burn like bacon forgotten in the pan, why don’t I just apply some damn sunscreen, the stronger the SPF the better.
Well let me assure you that I have indeed been an avid sun screen worshipper for most of my teen and all of my adult life.  I learned my lesson when I was 13 and lay in the sun with my entire back smeared with what I thought was sunscreen but turned out to be baby oil instead.  A friend decided that I needed a tan instead of my whiter than rice complexion and switched the bottles when she was rubbing the lotion onto my back.  I spent the better part of 2 weeks in agony, not able to wear a shirt, so I had a huge silk scarf tied around my neck and midriff.  Vitamin E was sprayed onto my back every morning and night and my Dad (a fellow burn sufferer) came home from work every day at lunch to apply a third does of that Vitamin E spray, a product which went out of production not long after this happened.

After all of that I became ‘addicted’ to sunscreen, applying generous amounts all the time and getting those who are unwilling to even come into contact with sunscreen (again, Hubby) to assist in the applying to places I just can’t reach because much to the Hubby’s dismay, I am not a contortionist.
Even with the liberal amounts of sunscreen that I encase myself in, I still manage to burn and I have no idea why this is.

Until this past week when I read an article in the Toronto Star that informed me of the fact that there are no regulations that force the sunscreen industry to adhere to.  They can make claims like “this SPF will help to prevent skin cancer and sunburns’ but the truth is they could also claim their product would have giant poodles jump out of my rectum, after which they’d being to perform the opening act of Evita.  I don’t know why I just paired large French fuzzy dogs up with a musical about an Argentinian Dictator’s sleep-her-way-to-the-top, whore of a wife, but I did it so there you go!

So where was I, oh yes, Sunscreen industry is able to make wild claims about protecting us from burning as well as at preventing us from dying from skin cancer, but the truth is that there are a lot of products out there that just don’t perform both tasks, and some that don’t do both well.  The article in the Star stated that in the States the laws and regulations have changed and Canada shall be following suit, I believe that as soon as next summer the bottles of sunscreen and other SPF products will have warning labels on them, telling us which products prevent burns or skin cancer or both.

As a person who has to deal with these issues and has always tried to research the best products for my own children’s skin care and sun protection but have not been able to make a dent because I am the mother of 3 kids and who has the time to sit in front of a computer for hours at end, researching all the crap that needs to be researched in order to keep our kids safe in these modern times?
And even if you do manage to find time to sit down and sift through all the research, articles and personal opinion that one can find on the internet, how do you actually decide which opinion or source is better than another? There are conflicting reports at every turn, how is a Mom supposed to know which to trust? Both have solid facts backed up by tests and data, so how am I supposed to decide?

It’s my hope that this legislated ‘truth in advertising’ will usher in a new era of advertisers and marketers actually telling it like it is, with no double talk and ‘bending’ the truth and no bold-faced lies.
Shut up, I can hope for truth in advertising just as I can hope for a nice sunny summer. It doesn’t mean I’m going to get it, and I’m able to see that through my rose-colored glasses, I just wish that I couldn’t!

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About katastrophes1

Kat is a 20 something girl stuck in a 40 something body. Mom to 3 kids, tormented and amused by 3 crazy dogs. Amateur photographer, self taught crochet junkie. Thinker of crazy thoughts. Where do they come from? Who knows where thoughts occur, they just happen!
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