The sun is not good for you. At one time, maybe twenty or thirty years ago, a tan was stylish and chipper. No longer. Sun on your skin is your enemy and the enemy of your children and your pets. You must fight the sun to the death before the sun kills you first. Several years ago I had a red mark under my left eye.
My dermatologist took one look at it and said, “It’s nothing now, but I know what it will become.” He wrote me a prescription for Effudex.
Effudex, my doctor told me, was a “topical chemotherapy cream.” I was taken aback by the word “chemo” and he went on to direly warn me NOT to apply the Effudex cream on my red spot with my finger because, he said, “You’ll chemo your fingertip.”
My pharmacy didn’t have Effudex in stock so I had to wait a day to begin my treatment. My doctor told me to use a Q-tip to apply the cream but to “not put on too much. Just cover the red spot.” Have you ever tried to precisely place chemo cream on your face with a Q-tip over an area that is smaller than the tip of the Q-tip?
By the end of my treatment my tiny red spot had grown to the size of a quarter! The fault was all mine. Once you go “outside the lines” with Effudex, there is no going back to the original red mark because everything Effudex touches leaves a red mark! So there I was, day along day, increasing the size of my red mark bit-by-bit with my Q-tip.
It was hilarious if it wasn’t so serious. I was nauseous for 90 minutes after each twice-a-day Effudex application. The stuff was strong. It sapped my strength. It made my red spot go away and made my doctor very happy. I still shudder at the memory of the smell.
My doctor also told me that with my hazel eyes and fair Nebraska skin, I must never go out in the sun without SPF protection: “there’s nothing good in the sun for you,” he says every time I see him and he always wants me to “wear dark sunglasses with full spectrum UV protection.”
My doctor likes, for now, any SPF product that has “Parsol 1789” and I found Neutrogena’s UltraSheer Dry-Touch Sunblock with SPF 30 to fit that bill:
My doctor said any SPF over 30 is a waste of money. I love the Neutrogena because it is truly “Dry-Touch” and once you put it on it sinks into your skin and it leaves no shine, residue, or smell, behind! The newest thing is a sunblock product with “Mexoryl” instead of Parsol 1789. My doctor said Mexoryl is terrifically more effective than any other sun-block ingredient but, of course, you can’t purchase it legally in the United States.
I’ve known about Mexoryl for about four years and I am still waiting to legally buy it in America. You can buy Mexoryl products in Canada, but not the United States.
You can, however, go down to Greenwich Village in New York City and, in some of the better private pharmacies, purchase (under-the-counter) imported sun-block with Mexoryl.
You have to ask for it by name because the Mexoryl products aren’t displayed and you’ll have to fork over $60 cash to buy a small bottle.
There’s always a price for protection in New York!
My doctor told me your chances of getting skin cancer later in life triples if you had two serious sunburns as a youngster. I remember one especially severe burn I had while at university. My girlfriend at the time put “Sea Breeze” (do they still make that awful stuff?) on my burned back and shoulders and, almost immediately, my flesh crackled into chicken skin. It was nasty and it smelled like burnt flesh and it
didn’t “cool me down” like she thought it would.
Some people I know wear more clothes during the Summer than they wear during the Winter AND they use an umbrella when the sun is bright in a cloudless sky. I don’t go that far yet, but I do wear a hat to protect my face, eyes and ears (always put sunblock on your ears, especially the tops, they burn fast!) if I’m going to be outside for awhile and I lather on the sunblock every day.
The sun is not your friend, and it never really was, so don’t be taken in by the promise of its youthful, sunny, smile because you’ll pay for it in spades in later in the dark days of aging.