This is going to be pretty rude to those of you covered in a winter encore blanket of snow right now, but believe it or not, Spring is here.
We don’t have a lot of “seasonality” here in SoCal for justification but the calendar tells me it’s true. Sorry if you just got done shoveling your sidewalk or stripping ten layers and yaktraks from your outdoor run.
But the sun will be coming around (if not you can come visit), and all those pasty shoulders and legs will finally emerge from layered hibernation soon.
And with that announcement, it’s time I took my pedestal for another Skin Protection Soap Box Speech.
If you’re unfamiliar with my story, I’ve had two skin cancer scares in the last two years.
In 2011, a week after my wedding, I went in for surgery to remove one pre-melanoma mole and one basal cell carcinoma (a non-metastasizing form of skin cancer). This past December, I went back to have two more pre-melanoma areas excised.
Neither case was life-threatening, but had they gone undetected it’s hard to imagine how quickly they would have sped down the cancer-forming path they were on.
- As a brief nerd-out, pre-melanoma means there are abnormalities in the cells that have a likelihood of morphing into melanoma, a deadly (but treatable) form of skin cancer. A carcinoma is a grouping of cancerous cells, but the non-invasive kind that don’t normally spread to your other organs or kill people.
I go in for routine checkups every 9 months or so – a quick eyeball body scan by my dermatologist, and if she finds anything suspicious or worrisome she shoots it up with local anesthetic, razors it off (it doesn’t hurt, swear), and sends it to the lab for biopsy. If it comes back abnormal or with unclear margins – meaning a larger chunk needs cut to get all the bad stuff out – I go back. This last round she ‘operated’ in-office, a mostly painless punch biopsy with some stitches. The first procedure was done at a hospital by a plastic surgeon, which I felt was overkill (and expensive) but they were able to knock it all out at once and stitch me up extra pretty.
That’s a joke. All the scars are gnarly.
4 personal advocacy points – great conversation starters.
Anyway, as your homework for reading this torrid tale (for the umpteenth time, some of you long-term readers) :
1) PLEASE visit your dermatologist for an annual skin check. Or every other year. I don’t care. Just go in – mine was covered by insurance, super quick, and painless. Sure you’re naked and being inspected by a stranger, but I promise it’s worth the peace of mind.
2) DOUBLE PLEASE remember to wear SPF! Even when it’s not sunny or you’re only going to be out “a few minutes”. Not only will you be preventing scary cancer, but you’ll keep your skin young and won’t look like a wrinkly old bag by 35.
Lucky for you I’m not here shoving this down your throats without at least offering to help.
Mission Athletecare sent me some things to keep my skin happy and hopefully out from under the knife this year, and I want to share them with you. Because I love them and hate sunburn (and thigh chafing).
I bet you all know how sunscreen works. You put it on – 30 min before exposure, preferably – and it keeps the bad rays from hurting you or turning you into a lobster. Pretty simple, but in case you need visuals here are some really lovely photos of the application process :
ps if your thighs don’t rub together when you run we can’t be friends
The continuous spray makes total coverage foolproof, and I can get my hair and scalp without greasing em up real bad. I add some facestick (feel free to take a moment to admire my 6am beauty) to my cheeks, nose, and lips since I don’t like wearing my daily moisturizer because I get a sweaty slimy mess. Bonus : the stick is kind of tacky so it keeps me from wiping sweat in my eyeballs somehow? And lastly, a gratuitous inner-thigh shot of the anti-chafe balm. Also in constant contact with my underboobs, collar bones, and chicken flapping arms.
Reminds me I should go do some pushups after this.
I think there are HIPAA laws against me calling your doctors to make skin check appointments for you, so I’m going to do the next best thing(s) to help keep you sun safe this summer :
1) Use code “SARAHOUAL30” at missionathletecare.com for 30% off your entire order. (through 5/15/13)
2) Enter to win! One random reader will win an anti-chafe, continuous spray, and facestick – Summer Running Protection kit of their own. To play :
Leave a comment telling me your most exciting spring/summer plans. Something a gnarly sunburn or melanoma diagnosis would put a damper on.
Tweet “__(something fun you’re doing this spring/summer)__ will be SUN SAFE thanks to @sarahoual and @missionathlete #FUcancer”
- ex. “Running Boston will be SUN SAFE…”, “Camping Yellowstone will be SUN SAFE…”, “Drinking margs by the pool will be SUN SAFE…” – you get it
- Schedule a skin check. Let me know. These entries also awarded a virtual high five and insta-BFF status.
1 entry for each, must leave a separate comment. Winner will be chosen by random on Tuesday 4/2 at noon PST
Good luck! The sun is fun and makes everyone happy so enjoy it, responsibly! (like the alcohol commercials).