Summer is not my favourite season. Why? Ok, it’s all about my skin, and exposing said skin. The day I wrote this blog post it was cloudy, grey and raining, and a bit cooler, and I went ‘yippee I can wear my leggings and cover up my legs, woo hoo, brilliant!’
There are two important reasons why I like covering up. The first is frivolous. I am (or was) a redhead so my skin is very pale, and now that I’m ageing I’m covered with large freckles and age spots or, as the dermatology nurse told me, ‘we don’t call them that any more, as in hot countries 20-year olds get them, they’re sun-spots’.
Also (and still on the frivolous bit) my legs, seriously, are a purple, blue colour. I don’t have visible bumps that denote varicose veins, but I have little dark blue veins here and there, and then those purple, spidery things round my knees and ankles. Yes, I could possibly get something done to them, so I will enquire. But that’s why I love my black tights in winter – they show off my legs and cover up the colour! In the summer, though, all of this would benefit, you might think, from getting a nice deep tan.
That brings me to my second reason for not liking my skin to be exposed, especially on my legs. Because my legs are where most of my small skin cancers have been found. (OK, only 4 but that’s enough!) They were all minor (non-melanoma) skin cancers and only needed very minor surgery, but nevertheless they were cancers.
I do go in the sun, as you need that Vitamin D (more about that in another blog post) but I never, ever sit directly in the sun, or worse, actually sunbathe. And I cover myself with a good sunscreen every day. I wince when friends show me their suntans – it’s actually a burn. How could you, I think to myself, and there is a serious element to my thinking as I’m sure you all know the following but it’s good to repeat this.
There are two distinct types of skin cancer; melanoma and non-melanoma. A melanoma is a very dangerous skin cancer formed from a rogue mole, which needs some quick action from both you and your doctor. Roughly speaking why not follow the ABCDE rules and act if you see a mole is:
- Asymmetric or irregular
- Has a ragged Border
- Is not the same Colour all over
- Is larger than 6 millimetres in Diameter
- And is Evolving and changing
Please act quickly if any of these are happening to you. Meanwhile, the non-melanoma skin cancers are slower growing, but still need to be dealt with. And as ever I would advise what all skin cancer and skin care professionals advise:
- Check your skin regularly. And, if you are a fair skinned person, why not have a professional skin check. I go to the Mole Clinic once a year and consider it money well spent.
- Cover up through the midday sun, and don’t forget a wide-brimmed hat and wrap-round sunglasses
- Slap on a good sun-screen, and reapply it after 2 hours. Don’t be mean with the amount (use 1 ounce or 2 tablespoons each time)
If you’ve read to the end, great! All I want is just one person to think twice about that ‘tan’, or do something about that odd looking mole. And I’m not totally against summer – I love the warmth and the sun shining through trees and leaves, and a bright blue sky. And when it’s sunny I do throw off my black tights and go bare legged. And I love wearing very bright nail varnish and my favourite red sandals.
That’s all for now
Penny, the frugalfashionshopper