• Michelle Dawn Mooney

This is What 75 Looks Like ... SPF That Is

Updated: Nov 20, 2019

This is the look of SPF 75. I’m pretty sure that’s the number I was wearing the day this picture was taken - not this summer, or even this year, but poolside in February of 2018 in the state where I last donned a bathing suit ... Florida.

For those of you who know me well, you know I'm not exactly a beach person, despite the fact that I've lived anywhere from two to twenty minutes away from the New Jersey shoreline my entire life. Don't get me wrong, I do love the beach, just not for what most people use it for. I have had sand between my toes all of two times this summer (which breaks a record last set in 2011), but both excursions were for beach parties after the sun went down. Once again, I do LOVE the beach. I've always loved taking in its majestic beauty, although it's usually while I'm walking or jogging on the boardwalk, not laying on a blanket waiting for the sun's powerful rays to turn my delicate white skin to bright pink in a flash.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I don't want to scare you - especially on a fabulous Friday, but the truth of the matter is more than one million Americans are living with Melanoma and 9,500 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed every day. The good news... skin cancer is highly preventable. Yes, the sun can be dangerous, but that doesn't mean we have to lock ourselves indoors. We can still take part in all those fun summer activities (while we still can), we just need to make sure we do it safely.

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends always wearing a sunscreen of at least SPF 30 when you head outdoors for extended periods of time in daylight hours, and reminds us to reapply when needed. The sun does give us a healthy dose of vitamin D, but doctors say you only need about 15 - 20 minutes of bare skin exposure to achieve this. Try to avoid the harshest sunlight hours of the day and never underestimate those overcast skies, because they can be just as detrimental on your skin if you're not protected. Also, remember the fairer you are (like me), the more susceptible you are for UV damage. So, if you fall into that category, it's always a good idea to have hats and cover-ups handy.

Summer may be winding down, but this message is just as important as we get ready to head into the autumn months. Good skin care should be a year round responsibility. In fact, September is actually National Skin Care Awareness month, so in the next few weeks I'll be sharing plenty of tips on how to keep your skin in the best shape it can be.

In the meantime, keep slathering on that sunscreen, even when the temperatures drop. Ultraviolet light doesn't just go away in the colder months, which is why I've worn sunscreen on my face every day of the year since I was about twenty. I'm hoping it will pay off in more ways than one. Skin cancer prevention is my number one goal, but since an estimated 90 percent of aging is a result of the sun - by the time I'm 75 I'm hoping I won't look my age or my SPF number. ;)

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