There's a reason that Back to the Future was such a hit—a reason other than the Delorian and snappy retro fashion, we mean. Except for our most zen friends, the idea of turning back the clock holds infinite daydreaming possibility—think of the hikes not taken, the swims we'd splash through, the adventures we'd prioritize. Think, if you'll indulge us, about all the SPF we would have slathered on.
With that in mind, we sat down at the close of this May Skin Cancer Awareness Month with Terri Bright, mom of two sunburn-prone kiddos and skin cancer survivor, and asked her the dreaded question:
If today Terri could go back and give some suncare advice to teenage Terri, what would that be?
Listen to your Mother!
... because she's always right. (Kids, are you listening?) But really, when I was a teenager, I of course didn’t listen to my parents and did all sorts of dumb things that I look back on now and just roll my eyes about! I’d lay out in the sun, I used tanning oil, I went to TANNING BEDS; anything to get a tan! And I do tan, it just takes awhile … and did a lot of damage in the process.
Honestly, if I had to choose just one thing to change, or try to change for other people, it would be tanning beds—don't get me started. I'd love to go back and yank myself out of there.
Build a trusted suncare team
You know, when I was first going through skin cancer, I was seeing one doctor who somehow didn't seem too worried about some of the spots that I was finding. So, I switched things up and went to another physician ... who sent me in to have some of those spots tested right away. And sure enough, those spots were cancerous. That was a really powerful lesson in being an advocate for myself, and a reminder that it never, ever hurts to get a second opinion if something just doesn't look or feel quite right.
Also: never trust your husband to check suspicious spots! (I'm kidding ... kind of!) The joke in my house is that my husband always thinks that new spots I find on my skin are acne, so I've learned that my mom is a more trustworthy skin consultant. But jokes aside, it's extremely helpful to find someone else you're comfortable with who can gut check things that you may find in your own monthly scans, before you even get to the doctor's office.
Up the SPF ... and the glasses, and the shirts, and the hats!
I know I've said this before, but I never go outside without SPF on. I used to aim for SPF 30, but after my latest bout with skin cancer, my dermatologist told me that SPF 50 is my new rule. And, same goes for my kids!
Because we're so often outdoors, I'm also always on the market for other sun protection gear to go along with our sunscreen. That's especially critical for us, given how much time we spend on the water. Oklahoma has a lot of lakes and rivers which are my happy place—we bought kayaks a few years ago and I’m pushing for an inflatable standup paddle board (for myself) now that the boys are big enough to use the kayaks!
A few of my latest favorites are from Carve Designs—they make such beautiful SPF 50 swimsuits and coverups! My family is also recently hooked on Knockaround sunglasses, which are polarized, totally customizable, and totally affordable ... a big plus since I got tired of buying my husband $200 sunglasses for him to break or lose off the side of the kayak (*insert eye roll*).
With Memorial Day and the start of summer officially around the corner, the time is now to stock up on sun protection must-haves like our Mineral Sport Spray SPF 50 and Clearscreen SPF 50 Lotion. For more on Terri's journey, head on over to our Melanoma Awareness Month interview with her!