Skin Care and the Great Outdoors
It was the end of March 2020 and I was on total lockdown like everyone else in Western New York and much of the United States. It was still very much winter although there was very little snow on the ground. I didn’t feel like reading or binge-watching some show. So, I went to our local walking trail and saw “nature” for the first time.
I mean I had been on that path a thousand times but something about being on lockdown made me see things differently. I started to notice the flora and fauna. I saw birds and furry mammals and trees for the first time. I broke out my smartphone began documenting everything I had been overlooking while walking just “to get my steps in." Overnight I became an outdoorsman.
Spending more time outdoors
Lockdown 2020 has provided me daily opportunities to be outside and pursue my new love, photography. I bought a legitimate camera and a zoom lens and every blue jay, cardinal, hawk, deer, turkey, tree, flower, sunset and full moon have become my friends. I now spend hours a day outside. Winter became spring, which became summer, I’m more nature trail than library now.
Enhancing my outdoor skin protection plan
All this to say, I have had to up my skincare game. I bought long sleeve shirts with hoods that provide SPF protection. I never go out without a hat. I wear sunglasses when in bright sun and my sunscreen is as much a part of my new found outdoor experience as tracking chipmunks and minks.
I cover up as much as I can with my clothing even though it has become much warmer. My protective clothing is light enough to keep me cool but thick enough to provide sun protection. One thing that I didn’t anticipate was needing protection from mosquitos and ticks. I apply my sunscreen in conjunction with my critter spray. I am quite lathered up by the time I leave the house.
Do you find yourself outside more?
My question for you is this. What new outdoor activity are you pursuing? For some, it may be home repair. Many are walking around the neighborhood. I have noticed joggers and some brand new golfers on the links. As many of us have left our homes to enjoy the great outdoors we should be bringing sunscreen along with our masks.
Being mindful of sun protection
This brings me to wearing a mask. For those of us who wear them when we are away from our homes, it is important to realize that we should still put sunscreen on our faces and reapply as necessary. When I am able to social distance outside, I prefer to not wear my mask and that exposes me. Wearing the mask also causes my face to perspire and I am concerned that it wipes off the sunscreen when my mask is removed.
I am also around water a lot more now and the sun’s rays reflect powerfully on my skin. Even though I don’t fish or water ski, I now expose myself as if I did. Getting that perfect photo of a mallard duck puts me in harm’s way and I want to be prepared so that I can fully enjoy the experience without feeling sun exposure anxiety.
I am pretty excited that I found my new passion. Maybe one day you will see one of my snaps on the cover of National Geographic and an inset photo of me, sunburn free.
How often do you speak to your family members about skin cancer?