Please wear your sunscreen good folks :)

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Last seen: 2 years 3 months ago
Joined: 2011-05-13 11:51
Please wear your sunscreen good folks :)

Hi All,

Am dealing with skin cancer at the moment and mild 'sun damage' on my face which is itself pre-cancerous, so I wanted to just give you folks some caution as we head into summer.

The sun does two things to us. When there are no clouds, the sun warms us like when we are sitting next to a fire. The sun is just a very large fire 93 million miles away. A cloudy sky can block the heat which is why it doesn't feel as hot when it's cloudy

The other thing the sun does is bombard us with radiation. Think Chernobyl here. You can't see the radiation, you can't feel it, but it impacts you just the same. And like PPD which can build up in your system, radiation from the sun builds up in your body and skin cells over time, and it does this whether the sky is sunny or cloudy.

We've all seen pictures of people burned by radiation from nuclear accidents or atomic bombs. Radiation is radiation, it's just that radiation from the sun is much more subtle, but still potent.

In humans, especially in light skinned red-headed folks like me and you "ginger" folks, we are the most susceptible to radiation from the sun, and it takes about 40-50 years of exposure for these 'burns' to start showing up on our skin. It's actually happening earlier in people's lives now as the protective part of the atmosphere is breaking down. People with darker pigmented skin are less susceptible as the pigments act as a sun block.

These things first show up on the skin as small pink spots, on the arms and hands, and more frequently on the face, forehead and neck. They almost look like bug bites but they don't seem to go away. And when you are in the sun for long periods of time, they become more pronounced. On the forehead they look like spots of broken skin, or dried skin or patches of pink or red which inflame after a few hours in the sun. This is the first visible sign of "sun damage" called actinic keratosis.  And by the way, a dermatologist can check out your skin and any issues or spots you have (unless you are a leopard :) Without insurance you can still find dermatologists pretty affordable.

When this gets worse after more exposure, the cells develop into the basil layer of your outer skin cells which is the bottom layer and this can look like clear bumps or pimples which irritage easily, and which don't seem to go away. This can be what is called basil cell carcinoma and what I'm dealing with at the moment. Both of these are treatable, actinic keratosis with creams and basil cell carcinoma with surgery or other treatments.

From this point, that's where continued exposure can get really bad and dangerous with cancer developing under your skin and spreading throughout your body like a traditional cancer. Skin cancer is very, very common and treatable when caught early...but it's also preventable.

Good sun blocks will help block the radiation and will specifically say that they block UVA-A and UVA-B types of sun radiation. If you are light skinned and live in the south, then you especially should put on a good sun block before leaving the house. Yeah it's a pain in the ass to do, but you get used to it, and trust me, having sun damage and cancer cells to deal with when you don't have insurance is even more of a pain.

Sun Blocks.

Many people have opinions on SPF. We were told that anything above a certain number doesn't really help but my dermatologist who specializes in sun-related skin issues recommends the following:

- Pick a good quality sunblock with an SPF rating between 50 and 75.
- Apply before leaving the house
- If you are in the sun during the day, re-apply every 2 hours.

I know when doing festivals it's hard to take time to reapply sun block, but it is your health at stake. Customers can wait a minute or two. And if your EZ-Up tent canopy is more than a season or two old, then remember that it may provide shade, but it won't block the UVA rays from bombarding you throughout the day. You still get radiation poisoning. It's just you are more comfortable getting it in the shade. Many tent canopies claim to provide UV protection, but once you wash them, that coating can be removed.

As a last note, I'm not dying or anything, but I am cutting my shows in half for the year, avoiding the hottest months in summer here in Florida.

Anyway, hope this helps someone...

I miss you guys... :)

- Muddyshoes

Last seen: 7 years 4 months ago
Joined: 2010-07-02 02:30
Re: Please wear your sunscreen good folks :)

 Thanks for the warning!  This is something I often forget.  

Also, I've recently heard that some ingredients in sunscreens can actually increase your chances of cancer.  As I'm Muslim, the only parts of my body that are exposed to the sun are my face and hands, I should probably do something to protect those parts!

I wish you all the best in your treatments, and pray you make a strong recovery.

Last seen: 7 years 8 months ago
Joined: 2010-05-10 13:25
Re: Please wear your sunscreen good folks :)

Oh, Ron.... to think it would be the sun that tried to do you in, despite your flirtatious relations with slender metal insertions into wall sockets and years behind enemy lines at Disneyworld.  I'm relieved beyond description that you aren't dying... doubly so that you look good in hats :P.  Out of curiosity... what's the SPF value of clown-white?

As a fellow ginger-type who contracts a sunburn from sitting too close to the television, I appreciate this post in regard to those of us fair-skinned folk who find ourselves under a canopy every week throughout the festival season.  Not only is it important to protect your skin, you should also protect your eyes.  Radiation can do a number on your eyes, so if you spend your days outside, please wear UV protective sunglasses.  Overcast days are also deceptive in regard to your eyes:  lower light can cause your pupils to dilate wider, letting in more UV rays than on a bright, sunny day.  If you notice your eyes seeming to ache and strain on a cloudy day, it can be a sign that you've already suffered some radiation damage.  Luckily, even cheap-o dollar store sunglasses have UV protection these days, so save your skin and protect your peepers!

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