Cherie Langlois
July 7, 2010

lizard skin
Photo by Kelsey Langlois

Don’t get lizard skin from too much sun!

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After days of experiencing mostly gloom and rain, my family and I finally located that big shiny, scorching hot orb-thing … um, what do you call it again? … down in southern California last week.  I should have known—the sun had been happily shining on Disneyland all along. 

Of course, I’d come well prepared for this abnormal (for us) UV exposure: 45 SPF sunscreen, hat, long-sleeved sun-protective shirt to throw on. 

Nineteen years ago I had a frightening experience with malignant melanoma, likely brought on by tanning (and usually burning) as a teen. 

I’m now fairly compulsive about protecting my skin from those damaging sun rays by applying sunscreen and lip balm (even in winter), donning a hat (usually), seeking shade, and covering up before I start to burn.  At the same time, I love the outdoors—gardening, hiking, bicycling—and the feel of the sun on my skin, so I refuse to hide inside when the sun shines. 

After suffering through treatment for a more benign skin cancer, my husband has also become more cautious about sun exposure in recent years, and we’ve tried to instill a sun-safety mindset in our daughter as well (as in, hit the tanning bed and you’re grounded for life, young lady!). 

Back to Disneyland: Our first day there, Brett and I slathered on sunscreen I’d put in a carry-on-size bottle and re-applied it several times that afternoon (Kelsey used her own). 

When we returned to our hotel that night, Kelsey was still Northwest-pale, while Brett and I had painful sunburns on our shoulders, upper arms, and chests—almost as if we’d never applied sunscreen at all. 

As it turned out, we hadn’t.  Kelsey had put a creamy face wash in a container just like the one my sunscreen was in, and I’d grabbed this one by accident. 

“I can’t believe you used up all my face wash!” she complained.  “Didn’t you two start foaming when you got all wet on Splash Mountain?”

If we did, I must have been too busy screaming to notice.  

Anyway, as the sun smiles on our farms this summer, I hope you’ll remember not only to stay cool, but save your skin, too! 

You can learn more about skin cancer prevention here.

PS.  If you do get burned, aloe vera gel works wonders!

~  Cherie

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