Val Asks You: Sunscreen Vigilance
I'm 30 years old and I wear sunscreen and am a big advocate because I have been living on and off with skin cancer for years. Like most girls I wasn't fazed by all the hype about the tanning beds and sitting in the sun. I wanted to look tan for prom and spring break. Unfortunately, due to these rash decisions I found my first atypical mole one day on my left breast when I was getting out of the shower at the age of 18. I immediately went to the doctor and they excised it. The results came back and it was basal cell carcinoma. Within three months—and one inch from the last taking—I had another one removed. For six years I was in the clear. I thought the cutting and tugging of my skin from the thread when getting stitched would never happen again to me. When I was 23 all those wishes came to an end. It was the Fourth of of July, and instead of celebrating I was counting down the hours until I would head into Beth Israel Hospital to have five moles removed. This was just the beginning for the next seven years. In total I have had 24 more moles removed, some basal cell and sqaumous cell carcinoma and the rest just atypical. Eight were recently removed in June 2007 and 12 more January 2008.
Salem, New Hampshire
According to my friends, I'm the "sunscreen police." I've been vigilant about wearing sunscreen for about seven years and try to get all my friends to wear it, too. Ever since I developed hyper-pigmentation on my face and started to try to do something about it, I haven't left the house without sunscreen on except for my wedding day. The makeup artist insisted I had to have a completely bare face for her makeup application. It was pretty scary for me to walk outside without my SPF 30. I wear waterproof SPF 45 when I'm exercising outside and a hat whenever I can work it into my wardrobe. I'm almost grateful for the hyper-pigmentation for making me more aware of the dangers of the sun. I just wish I could get rid of it now.