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A woman talks to a tan and sunglass wearing genie that has come out of a bottle of sunscreen

Genie in a Bottle…..of Sunscreen

A couple of months ago my daughter and I went on spring break to Cabo, and I was pretty proud of myself that I spent a week at the beach and didn’t get a sunburn thanks to some pre-vacation planning on being sun smart.

Tired of beach preparation

We then had a trip planned to Key West for her 21st birthday, which we just got back from. Before we left on vacation, I knew there was a good chance that Key West would be sunny and hot, that we would be spending time at the pool each day, and that I would once again need to be proactive so I didn’t get a sunburn. This time, though, all the required planning left me feeling discouraged. I am tired of having skin cancer. I am tired of the extra preparation before each trip. I am tired of having to pack all the extra sun protective necessities, along with an entire arsenal of sunscreen for each warm-weather vacation we go on. Okay, I may go overboard on the amount of sunscreen I bring (you can see what I took to Key West in the photo), but I want to make sure we are all fully protected.

Many different bottles of sunscreen lined up on a counter

Just plain tired of having skin cancer

I’ve realized that I am once again suffering from skin cancer fatigue. Some days I do really well in dealing with having skin cancer, but other days I just want it gone. I know that I need to be sun smart. I know that I need to plan in advance everything I need to protect me from the sun. But there are times that I am tired of planning. I’m tired of worrying about if I’m going to get too much sun.

Wishing it away

I wish I had a genie in a bottle. I know what my skin cancer wishes would be:

  1. I’d wish that I didn’t have skin cancer.
  2. I’d wish that I could just enjoy time in the sun and didn’t have to plan ahead so much to protect against sun exposure; I could instead just throw on a swimsuit and go to the pool without having to slather on sunscreen, take my hat and coverup with me, and hope for an empty chair near an umbrella. (Then again, that’s partly what got me in this situation in the first place, so that probably wouldn’t be a good idea.)
  3. I’d wish that there wasn’t even such a thing as skin cancer.

Accepting reality

But I don’t have a genie in a bottle, and I don’t want to do additional damage to my skin. I did enough of that when I was younger. So, I’ll keep practicing good sun awareness habits. I’ll overpack sunscreen products for vacations, and use them. I’ll make sure I’m wearing a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen at the pool and beach. I’ll have a coverup and sun protective clothing to help protect my skin from too much exposure. I’ll take good care of my skin. I need to; it’s the only skin I’ve got. And you need to, unless you have a genie in a bottle.

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.


  • CarolA
    3 weeks ago

    Thank you, Judy, for such a timely article. I was working in the yard on a recent morning in my long pants, long sleeved shirt, gloves, hat. I made sure the shirt sleeves covered my wrists where the gloves did not reach. Miserably humid that morning, I was steaming. I just wanted to cry. I just wanted to throw on capris, sandals, and a t shirt. Fear fatigue describes it well. I do not want to report to the dermatology office with any darkened skin. I want to participate in the noon water aerobics class, but fear the sun despite all of the sunscreen, hat, cover up. But, I also don’t want a recurrence of skin cancer, either. So, like you, I will wear a hat, sunscreen, cover up, long sleeves, gloves…whatever is necessary to take care of my skin. Your reflection was just what I needed to re-focus. Bless you!

  • Judy Cloud moderator author
    3 weeks ago

    You certainly understand, Carol. The things we really want to do sometimes seem like it will take too much preparation to do them, and the enjoyment is lost. Continue to take good care of you! Judy, Moderator

  • Moonmomma
    3 weeks ago

    I love reading articles on this site because they totally hit home with me. I understand exactly what you’re saying. I see everyone (even commercials and print ads) getting excited about summer and now it just doesn’t have the same appeal to me. It’s kind of ugh if I go out I have to coat myself in sunscreen that either makes me white and greasy or isn’t good for me just to hope I didn’t miss a spot. I also wonder if it’s worn off yet once I get in the water and then get out to dry off and reapply. It’s TRULY a pain in the butt! I have been finding myself wishing the same things as you. I’ said it many times and will continue to say it you are not alone! Hang in there and keep reapplying!

  • Judy Cloud moderator author
    3 weeks ago

    @moonmomma Thanks for your comment. It’s always nice to know we aren’t alone and that someone else ‘gets’ it! Judy, Moderator

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