The Unsavory Side of Sunblock

My husband and I honeymooned in Jamaica ten years ago.  We had a fabulous time taking catamaran cruises, sunbathing, playing sand volleyball (and winning the international championship – woot!), learning how to wind surf, scuba diving.  I also began to develop sun sensitivity.

The summer after our honeymoon I noticed that I would get these annoying itchy bumps on my arms, especially on my elbows and wrists, whenever I was out in the sun and got too hot.  The student health center doctor didn’t think it looked like a sun allergy or a heat rash.  Over the years it has gotten worse.  It’s a horrible problem now but somewhat controlled through liberal and regular application of high-SPF sunscreen.

I was browsing twitter and friendfeed today, and a friendfeed friend posted a link to this post about the danger of sunscreen.  Great – what do I do now?

Here are some of the strategies I’ve developed over time.  This isn’t rocket science, people.  But do consider that your long-term health (and that of your children, especially if you drench them in sunscreen as I do) may be at stake.

  1. Spend 10 minutes in the sun without sunscreen every day.  We all need vitamin D, and we certainly aren’t getting the minimum amount from our diets!
  2. Try to find a sunscreen with the least amount of unnatural ingredients.  Use it to build up a base tan.
  3. Wear a hat and sunglasses.
  4. Sit in the shade when you can.
  5. Wear long-sleeved shirts when you’re hiking or gardening.
  6. Avoid the sun between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.

The problem for me is that not only do I have this sun allergy, but also I have problems with melasma.  Lucky me.  So I ask again – what do I do now??

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3 responses to “The Unsavory Side of Sunblock

  1. well what the eff? now what? I slather it on my kiddos…of course I have noticed that miss daners turns brown in a mere 2 seconds, as does my son. I guess its tan kids now eh?

  2. Well girlfriend, you’re damned if you do and if you don’t, or so it seems. Perhaps the point to be made is that sunblock isn’t a cure all and shouldn’t be used in place of responsible sun consumption?

  3. well, a bit of probing and there are plenty that are ok…and its the burning…so yeah, moderation yada yada yada. Yanno, if I hear wine winds up bad for us, I will simply NOT CARE. :-)

    Miss you girlfriend! Steve is in Billings right now.

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