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A woman in a dark space clutches a bottle of sunscreen

In A Nightmare, Going Without Sunscreen

Strange but true, I had a nightmare about sunscreen. I was on vacation in a tropical location, and I forgot to pack my sunscreen. I panicked. Someone said, “No problem, we can find some in a store.”

I walked down a street. I looked for a store that would sell it. When I saw a likely store, the clerk said they had it all the way in the back. I found it, but it was so expensive that I didn’t buy it. I was afraid to go without the sunscreen, but that’s what I would have to do.

Fear of going without sunscreen

FOGWS. I just made this up. Fear Of Going Without Sunscreen. Sort of like FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out. Only it is fear of missing out on sunscreen.

In reality, I have sunscreen in my car, sunscreen in my tennis bag, sunscreen in my purse. I don’t always remember to put it on during the winter, and I don’t always remember to put it on in the car. I know that you’re supposed to do these things. I must have gone to bed frustrated about something.

More than one nightmare about it

As a continuation of the sunscreen nightmare, I dreamt that at a tennis match, I couldn’t find my racquet. Someone gave me a loaner. It was a long pole with a pointy end. I tried but couldn’t possibly hit the ball with it. Someone brought me a replacement. It was like an oversized goalie glove. I couldn’t play tennis with that either.

The owner of our tennis club was there. I asked if he had an extra racquet. He said he didn’t. I told the other women I couldn’t possibly play. They said they understood. In the dream, if I had found the racquet, but still hadn’t found the sunscreen, I would be in trouble. Or rather, my skin would have been in trouble.

Learning to remember sunscreen

Now it is indoor season, so it doesn’t matter. But in the outdoor tennis season, I put sunscreen on exposed skin and wear as much sun protection clothing as I can stand. I’ve done a lot of outdoor sports, and it wasn’t always so. I ran three to four miles a day during the week and went for longer runs, maybe six miles or so, on weekends. Training for a half marathon meant longer runs. I don’t remember ever wearing sunscreen or putting on a hat.

After college I went on a bike trip with a college boyfriend, and we rode about 80 miles a day. We made sure to pack our trail mix, but sunscreen was never on the list. This was also the case when I biked around Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia on two separate summers with different college friends.

At least sunscreen is now on my mind, even if I’m having nightmares about it.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.


  • Renee Feldman moderator
    1 year ago

    I totally understand what you discuss in this article. I, too, never used to think about sunscreen, except maybe if I was on the beach (but only sometimes even then). I never thought about it while biking, running, or walking outside. Now, even if I don’t always remember to put it on, it’s on my mind or at least in the back of my mind. I see that for you, it’s also on your mind, even if you’re not conscious of it all the time, as it’s coming out in your dreams, or rather, your nightmares! – Renee, Moderator

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