June 15, 2008

PSA- from Florida

This is going to come across as condescending and I promise you, that is absolutely not the intent. But I hope that at least one person will listen.

This is directed to ANYONE coming to visit Florida, in particular during the summer months which I will list as May through September, and who is visiting from, but not limited to, Northern Europe, Great Britain, the US Midwest and any state like the Dakotas or that gets snow for more than 3 months out of the year, or at least does not see the sun for months on end, or where a touch of Canadian accent may permeate your American accent.

I think that covers it.

This is from a Floridian and one who considers herself a Southerner.

Protect your skin.

There. I said it.

We are closer to the equator than from where you hail and the ozone layer is not what it was. I know that in some cases, y’all haven’t seen a lot of sun in 6 months or more. I get that. Seeing the great fiery ball in the sky is a wonderous feeling! By God, people used to worship the sun!

But. And listen carefully… the sun will kill you too. Not today, not tomorrow, but in 20 years from now. Slowly. It will. I promise.

Skin cancer is very real and very horrible. I’ve already had something burned off my face and I TAN. Right now, due to the fact I forgot to wear sunscreen for ONE HOUR last week, I am officially brown as a berry.

And I hate that.

I don’t like to be brown. To me, white skin is healthy. White skin is like milk… smooth and creamy.

Some of you are saying, “Sure, Bou, that’s real easy coming from a girl who can sit in the sun and in just a matter of days come out looking café au lait.”

The key is… I KNOW for a fact that my café au lait summer skin is bad. It does not bode well for me in the future. That is why you’ll see me wearing long sleeves all year round, big floppy hats or a baseball cap, I don’t go out during peak hours (10-3 for me) and if I do I wear what is called a Rashguard shirt, it’s a nylon/lycra type material that has a two inch collar covering my neck and runs long sleeved down to the palms of my hands. (I buy mine a bit big…)

I take the sun SERIOUSLY. I can enjoy the sunlight without baking my skin. Umbrellas are my friend at the beach or at a pool. The bigger the umbrella the better.

I took my boys to a Florida water park this weekend as they are old enough now for me not to freak at the sight of three of them, one of me, and water. This is what I saw:

I saw… lots of lobster red skin. I saw children slathered in sunscreen and wearing rashguard shirts. I saw Dads wearing rashguard shirts or tshirts.

Including me, there were THREE women I saw that were covered.



Were women so in love with their bathing suits that they had to show them off and could not cover them?

I saw women who were burned red, past pink, the day before, and were wearing a different bathing suit the next day.

To burn again.

The woman in the gift shop, with whom I had struck up a conversation, told me she watches people come in blistered and go out to blister some more. Gah!

I started listening to voices…. the voices of the visitors, not voices in my head! And the accents I heard were MOSTLY British and Northern US borderish, a few German here and there.

It was so prevalent; I said to my sons as we left, “There are going to be a lot of burned British citizens in Great Britain next week… nobody will even have to ask them what they did for holiday.”


I know the Euro and the British dollar are strong. I love people coming to visit. But if the 'not US dollars' are so strong… buy sun protection!!! You can afford MORE of it here!!!

I have spent NO LESS than $200 in sun protection for my kids and me this summer. Sun glasses, visors, sunscreen lotions and face sticks, rashguard shirts. I take this sun business VERY seriously and yet I am STILL beating myself up as I think Bones got too much sun. I don’t think I reapplied to his face enough.

Please listen. The sun is strong. Please prepare in advance or spend the money in the gift shops. I know it feels like you’re being ripped off, but its better to spend too much money on sunscreen, than to have stuff burned off your face, shoulders, or back later.

Trust me. I know. And so does TGOO. And the guys I work with. We all have had or continue to have skin cancer or precancerous lesions burned off our bodies.

We’re serious about this sun business.

You should be too.

Consider this a public service announcement.

Posted by Boudicca at June 15, 2008 10:22 PM | TrackBack

Bou: Keep putting it out there. I know a lovely young girl, all of 24, who recently had melanoma removed from her arm. She is blonde-haired, blue-eyed - very fair, but tans easily. It was a shock to hear this from her mother!

On a lighter note, our daughter is in California. One day she called me, quite worried. Apparently this woman had come into her workplace, and the woman's skin looked like leather. Our daughter thought she was an old woman, but it turned out she was related to someone who worked there and she found out the woman was in her early 40's. So ... I got a panicked call asking for advice on sunscreen and skin care. It was pretty funny, really. I told her the woman probably lived in the sun and likely smoked as well. However, I wish I could locate that woman and send her to you. The "scared straight" approach appears to work!

Posted by: PeggyU at June 16, 2008 02:31 AM

About the only outdoor activity I can stand in the hot sun anymore is swimming. The rest of the time, I'd be content with cold and overcast. I'm one of those light-skinned, freckled people who flash-frys in a heartbeat. And when I get seriously sunburned, it's the itchy kind. The kind where you just want to peel the skin off your body. So your public service message is definitely not lost on me.

Posted by: diamond dave at June 16, 2008 05:09 AM

Love the PSA!

I was the only woman running around the island of Grand Cayman in a love sleeved shirt and huge hat back in 1993... I'd done my damage young and was already paying for it.

Posted by: pam at June 16, 2008 06:44 AM

Amen! Preach It!

It breaks my heart to see small children and babies lobster red at the theme parks.

I never tan; I burn, blister, peel, rinse, repeat. I'm an SPF 45 or higher kind of girl.

Next lesson: swim parallel to shore if caught in a rip current.

Posted by: wRitErsbLock at June 16, 2008 06:49 AM

We do the rashguards anywhere outside of home. The rashguards go to the amusement parks, florida and will go to the beach, though how long they will stay on is a mystery. We all tan well except for the hubby. He is translucent. I use Neutragena SPF 85 UVA/UVB on the Boy's face. Except, yesterday . . . we all forgot. We were cleaning the pool, swimming, etc . . . and forgot. He has a red nose and cheeks today. We will not forget again! Bou, the sun is hot up here too - so your lesson is well taught here - now, if only I could remind myself to put on sunscreen!

Posted by: oddybobo at June 16, 2008 08:00 AM

Being fair, blonde and blue eyed myself, I hear ya. And having just gotten back from a week in Bermuda - it's hard to stay out of the sun completely. We lather on the SPF 30 (tip - anything over 30 is still just 30 but in a thicker formula) and spend as much time in the shade as possible. Just a few walks on the beach and some swimming. And we still came home quite brown - which for me is highly unusual.

Another tip: people forget that water and sand both magnify the sun exponentially. Even sitting under an umbrella you can get a sunburn. It's important to wear sunscreen whenever you are outside - especially on the beach even if you stay under an umbrella.

Posted by: Kris, in New England at June 16, 2008 09:37 AM

When I first moved to Oklahoma, I would meet people, and like one does, made a mental note about how old I think this person is. I support the HR records. When I went to look these people up, they were all 10-15 years younger than what I thought. Then I burnt my scalp the first weekend at the pool, and I knew the sun was more intense than what I was used to.

I used SPF 15 at the pool, and SPF 45 at the lake.

Posted by: Jerry at June 16, 2008 10:11 AM

Bou, its good of ya, but...there are warnings by the Surgeon General on cigarettes, there are the seatbelt commands on every visor in every car, "Don't drink and Drive" is EVERYWHERE...and masses are still running to shake hands with The Grim...no matter how he dresses himself and conceals his sickle.

But i do appreciate the heads up on that rashguard, i'm sure we'll be making that investment in the future.

Posted by: Jay- the friendly neighborhood piper at June 16, 2008 10:20 AM

As a Translucent American I totally agree with the PSA!! I love my hats and sunscreen!!

Posted by: Richmond at June 16, 2008 05:23 PM

I remember blistering my lips and chin when I was 13. I swelled up like I had an allergy. I can only imaging what that is going to look like on my face in a few years. I didn't think a thing about it then. Ah, youth.

Posted by: Sugar Britches at June 16, 2008 07:54 PM


Now there are two women in my life who are on me about my summer tans.

Sorry, but I still love to get in the sun, always have, always will.


Posted by: P'cola Titan at June 16, 2008 09:11 PM

I arrive shortly in Ca for 2 months...coming from a still dark and wet England I am worried about my daughter and the sun.i want her to enjoy her first real sun but I am bothered about what you have pointed out...damn!

Posted by: Thud at June 17, 2008 05:56 PM

I hear you. I tan pretty good. Yes, I'll have leather face soon. Being on water, or around it will do that to you. I remember one time down in Carolina, a couple and their kids came with us to go to the beach. I told 'em, you better put some sunscreen on... They didn't hear a lick of that. They were from Missouri, and once they saw the ocean, it was over. They were in it, and in it all day long. Lobster... is an understatement. The pain set in the next day, and, they couldn't hang anymore. They left early for Missouri again. I wouldn't have wanted that two day drive back from Carolina being that burnt. In my "elder years" I find myself covering the shelf with sunscreen 'cause it hurts the next day. My skin is always dry. I guess that's mostly from workin' tobacco fields as a kid. Sunscreen out there, back then, wasn't something that was common place. The heat made long sleeves a bit unpractical too. Back then though, there wasn't one place you couldn't smoke, exceptin' church... and then, the parkin' lot was fair game...

Posted by: RedNeck at June 18, 2008 10:38 AM

Preach it! I wish I had listened to my mom... My girls have such beautiful skin- much like mine used to be. You can bet we layer ourselves with sunscreen everytime we leave the house.

Posted by: Jody at June 18, 2008 02:45 PM