I am talking about the tan we get from being out in the sunshine, not the kind we get from special lights in tanning parlors and tanning beds.
Do you tan? Do you lay in the sun just to get some color on your skin?
I am getting rather confused by all the conflicting information coming my way this Summer.
Some magazine articles I see say that we should stay out of the sun as much as we can and that if we do venture outdoors during the heat of the day, to cover up with special fabrics, wear hats, and make sure to use sunscreens and sunblocker products with an SPF rating of at least 30.
Some articles I see say that any SPF over 45 is a waste of money. That 50 or 60 is not really much more protection than 45 and not to be purchased.
But some of the books I have read recently recommend time in the sunshine every day in order to soak up some natural Vitamin D…. and that sunscreens are not good for us. These are very new publications so should have up to date information, right?
And they say that if you spend a bit of time each day in the sun, that you don’t need sunscreens because we build up a natural immunity to the harmful rays. That if you are someone whose mouth breaks out in fever blisters the first time you are out for a prolonged period of time in the Summer, that it can be avoided if you make a point of getting out in the sunshine on a daily basis and get your body used to it.
And if you are particularly fair and really need a sunscreen to prevent burning to make that you allow 15 or 20 minutes out in the sun to get some Vitamin D first, and then apply the sunscreen.
Now I am of Celtic descnet, and I have fair, freckly skin, and have suffered some pretty painful sunburns over the years. I don’t need to spend very much time outside before I turn pink. I remember one particular visit to Mexico when I got my feet sunburned the first day there and they blistered and peeled, and that first week my mouth broke out in the worst fever blisters that I have ever experienced as well.
Yes, I am one of those people.
My nose has peeled more times over the years than I could ever think to remember. I have even burned my ear lobes and my scalp. I burn when we snow ski, when I run, when we play tennis, and especially when we sail.
So what to do?
In all honesty, I do feel like I look a bit better with a smidgeon of a tan.
But I have gone from wanting a very dark one to being happy with just a bit of color…. and I no longer care to have my face get tanned. Yes, I admit that it is because those little crinkly smile lines around my eyes show up more when I have been ‘kissed’ by the sun. But I have light aqua-colored eyes, and they just look plain weird peering out of a brown face!
Our first Summer aboard I was so brown already by mid June
When we are on the boat, sailing or just swinging on the anchor, it is impossible to avoid the sunshine. And why would I want to anyway? But I now wear a hat, and oversized sunglasses. And I make sure my face is slathered with a sunblocker – anywhere from SPF 45 to 60 – and I cover and recover my lips with a balm with at least SPF 30 many, many times throughout the day. I will even use SPF 30 on my shoulders and feet, and usually SPF 20 on my legs on particularly bright and hot days.
But for day to day, now that we are in the city so much, I really don’t think I need that kind of coverage.
I am still using at good higher SPF for my face, especially my nose and under my eyes, and always some SPF 30 balm on my mouth… just not taking any chances with those darn fever blisters no matter what that book said and I will use those all Summer long.
And when we are poolside, I will keep a hat on to shade my face, too when we are lounging in the sunshine or more likely for me, with my head in the shade.
But this year, I am going to forego the sunscreen on the rest of my body (other than when out on the boat) and see how it goes.
I like the idea of getting some natural Vitamin D from going 'bare skinned' and I do want to enjoy the visual benefit of a bit of color. But no burns and dark tans for me anymore.
What is your take on the whole natural suntan issue?
Do you like a bit of a tan? Darker or lighter, or not at all?
Do you use a sunscreen or a sunblocker?