A woman with a large hat smiles and radiates light.

Healthy Skin: My New Definition

If you had asked me in 1992 what healthy skin looked like, my answer would be much different than the one I give today. At any point during my high school years, I would have quickly and with ease, gestured toward any one of the girls around me with tanned arms and legs. In my mind, they looked healthy. They glowed. I was surrounded by what I believed to be girls with skin healthier and more attractive than mine. I based my assumption on one fact and one fact only - they were tan. The deeper the tan, the healthier they looked.

Healthy skin after skin cancer

It’s 2020. I am now the mother of two teens. I survived melanoma, and my definition of healthy skin no longer includes tanning salons and bottles of accelerator. If I had known then what I know now, I would have opted for sunscreen instead of products that increased the chances of damaging my skin. Today, having healthy skin means upping the ante and dedicating time each day to protect it from UV rays year-round. Healthy skin is protected skin, and products with at least an SPF of 30 for skin and lips are priorities.

Healthy skin glows

Glowing skin has taken on a new look for me now that I am an adult. Where I used to think glowing skin was fresh from the sun with a hint of red hidden in the tan, I now see glowing skin as undamaged and even pale. For many years, I fought against the paleness. I dreaded being compared to everyone else who sported a fresh-from-the-beach look 10 months out of the year. Today, however, I am proud to be pale. Pale skin has its own special glow, and it exudes a healthy air. Damage accumulates over time whether we notice it at first or not, but pale skin that hasn’t been repeatedly exposed to tanning beds or the sun’s rays is less likely to develop sun damage and subsequent skin cancers.

A second chance at healthy skin

I know I am living with years of damage, but I was given a second chance to make things right. Melanoma was my wake-up call. Decisions were made after that diagnosis, and today I can finally call my skin healthy. I work hard to protect it with sunscreen each day, apply makeup with an SPF of 30 or more, and wear lip balm with an SPF of 50. My skin is freckled, but it’s healthy. My skin is aged, but it’s now being protected. And my skin is as pale as pale can be, but it’s not accumulating damage anymore. Those days are behind me.

Healthy skin is beautiful no matter the color or age. It’s skin that has been loved and cherished. There is no time like the present to start protecting your skin - it really is never too late. Whether you have been diligent all along or have decided to begin anew, you can have skin that is glowing and healthy.

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