1. Wear Sunscreen

This essay is part of my 42 Deep Thoughts project.

Originally directed towards the class of ‘97 Mary Schmich wrote an essay which began with these epic words:

“Wear sunscreen.”

“If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience.”

I heard this originally as Baz Luhrmann’s version directed toward my class, the class of ‘99.

In truth, it is great advice. As these essays are in the spirit of Schmich’s essay, I thought I’d put my own spin on that advice.

I have rosacea. If I’m out in the sun for too long I get a rash on my nose and face.

When I went the dermatologist to ask about it, she told me to wear sunscreen. “Yeah, yeah, but what do I do now?” I was dismissive.

She responded that sunscreen, specifically with zinc, is a cure for rosacea, not just a preventative measure.

I tried it and it works. I also discovered that shampoo with zinc like Head and Shoulders helps too. I now wash my face with it and it keeps my face clear.

Applying sunscreen is also about planning ahead, and preparing.

Have you seen those pictures of people’s skin, comparing older people who wore sunscreen vs. people who didn’t? Sunscreen works.

It also takes forethought, and a daily habit. You need to make the commitment to putting it on every day. If you do, you’ll be rewarded with younger, healthier looking skin as you age.

Sunscreen also prevents melanoma. Do you really want to die of cancer?

There are so many things in life that work like this; your health is one, saving is another one of them. Several of the upcoming essays will revisit this idea in one way or another, it’s been a powerful theme of my life.

Unfortunately I came to this decision after my dumb teenage years where I worked hard to “condition” my skin to the Middle Eastern sun. I took pride in not needing sunscreen, because I had stopped burning.

Hopefully my youthful transgressions won’t come back to bite me. But for now, I’m wearing sunscreen, and I go to the dermatologist regularly.

And I recommend that you do too.

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About the image: Photo taken at the Boboli Gardens in the morning.