31 Comments
Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

This is so true. I do use sunscreen (pretty religiously but because I burn in 5 minutes when I'm out in the sun). The first step is definitely to seek shade and protect your skin through clothing.

Ever noticed that all those beauty and skincare influencers preach sunscreen under makeup but never offer advice for reapplying? Like sure nice smooth foundation but if you're out in the sun all day and cannot seek shade as often you should reapply your suncreen. But that'd mess up the poreless finish, I guess.

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Loved your last line about NOT blaming people for a future cancer diagnosis. And I like how you added perspective here. Being obsessive about sunscreen for the sole purpose of appearance reminds me of the grandmas who put vinyl plastic over their couches and chairs. Either way, the couch will reach the end of its life, so might as well enjoy it a bit.

I had a basal cell skin cancer removed a year ago, and wrote about my experience for Jumble and Flow in “Healthy Tan Then, Skin Cancer Now” — https://jumbleandflow.com/2022/06/21/healthy-tan-then-skin-cancer-now%EF%BF%BC/

I interviewed my dermatologist for the piece. Anyone can get skin cancer. But risks can vary so it’s good to talk with your dermatology provider about what sun-protective steps make sense for you. Some medications or health conditions can also make skin more sun sensitive. And my dermatologist noted that sometimes skin cancer isn’t related to sun exposure. So it’s important to pay attention to skin changes anywhere on your body and have them checked out.

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I teach writing composition to college students and one of them wrote about the conflicting information surrounding SPF and sunblock. I've personally been religious about sunblock since I was a kid because my skin burns on contact, but I've also learned my lesson about harsh chemical exfoliators and sun exposure (and I no longer use those exfoliators). Elta MD has become my standby because it's a physical sunblock which seems best for my sensitive skin. I also wear a huge, dorky hat. Because I'm in Florida the sun can be relentless, so I've started using a sunbrella which garners strange side-eyes sometimes but actually helps keep me cooler!

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

Thank you for this sensible take. I’ve had terrible skin for 20 years (acne + sensitivity) and wearing sunscreen makes it worse, without fail. I’m happy to cop that to avoid sunburn when I’m outside all day in the summer, but I live in a place where the UV index doesn’t get above 1 for several months a year and I work in an office with no windows. The advice to wear SPF every day without fail is so insane.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

Apologies, Jessica! I didn’t realize you don’t make any recommendations - what I love about the SuperGoop stuff is they have products that are easy to reapply over whatever makeup you might have on.

It’s also not pricey... End of my unsolicited recommendation!

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Jun 17, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

Even when I was a kid, sunscreen made my skin burn on contact, I'd get red and be in pain for like half an hour. It's worse now. I almost never wear sunscreen because of it unless I'm swimming outdoors. I got the parasol, I got the big hats, but also, you know what, it's okay. It's okay if I'm out in the sun and her light touches my unconcealed skin. It's okay. Whatever happens. I accept my hot ass mean Louisiana sun and the consequences.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

If I'm only going outside a few times a day or just to walk the dog, hell yeah I'm putting on a big hat instead of sunscreen!!! It is the equivalent of walking around with my own personal shade. I would absolutely utilize a parasol but need my hands free. I have also *so happily* invested in one of those fans you wear around your neck that blows air up into your hot face! I wish it had a mist component like the old Squeeze-n-Breeze we used as kids.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

Just wanted to say that I always appreciate when you tell us which few products you do use, because I know they’re functional and not trying to get my affiliate purchase bucks. I now use jojoba oil instead of moisturizer and it’s so much better for my skin.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

Eye-opening as always :) out of curiosity, do you already have an article about what reactions on your skin can mean for your internal health? I recall you mentioning the concept before and I feel like you're the only person in this space who isn't fearmomgering or trying to sell me something. I don't want to buy a cream to fix my redness, I want to deal with the inflammation in my body!!!!

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Jun 17, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

I know you are just a contributor on this piece for Dirt, but I am VERY tired of skincare advice/recommendations that don’t even pretend to acknowledge the needs of Black and brown skin, especially when it comes to sunblock.

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

12/10 this is the take that we need. This reminded me of when I got prescribed tretinoin (a few years ago) and I was like “hey, I go out in the sun a lot, is this gonna end up giving me MORE skin damage?” and the derm was like. . . don’t worry about it it’s fine. And I was like um that doesn’t seem right but OK. Anyway hated it so that was short-lived.

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I was about to subscribe to The Unpublishable, when I read this post. So the only sunscreen you recommend is Plumscreen®, at $78??

I was happy to see that Dirt at least mention a Supergoop product. They have many products, both chemical and mineral sunscreens, and they are excellent. So I'll keep following you, and now am a monthly subscriber (so that I could comment...geesh) and will see if I continue.

I am allmost 75, with skin that people are always commenting on -- in very complimentary ways, including my dermatologist, who invariably says, "just keep doing what you're doing."

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Jun 16, 2023Liked by Jessica DeFino

Anyone else HERE FOR the teal Robocop sunscreen in the article image? The ad reminds me of those SPF products for kids that change color when you rub them in.

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I was an early adopter of SPF-every-day (I was a teen goth and thought I looked better pale, then I realized it was aNtI aGiNg) but I’m a little creeped out by how far skincare obsessives are taking it these days. Have you seen the Reddit skincareaddiction boards? These girls are doing things like wearing sunscreen indoors and avoiding outdoor activities, which seems sad and positively Victorian to me. I’ve also read more recent studies that link sun exposure to a longer life and lower risk of various non-skin cancers. Personally, I’m not giving up my SPF 50 or lying out all day, but I’ve become a bit more relaxed about the sun, especially since I know I feel better when I get time outdoors.

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I just stay inside all day and all night except when feeding after midnight.

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This is great. Both my dad and sister got basal cell carcinoma from too much sun, so I try to be sensible about it whilst also understanding the positive effects of sun on vitamin D levels and mood. I do think a lifetime of sunscreen has helped my skin over the years, but also hats and umbrellas! Really, it’s the only skincare regime I have minus washing a few times a week when my skin feels oily/sweaty and moisturizing after that. On that note, I’ve found exercise, sleep, water, estriol for my bad pre-peri menopause, eating vegetables, and avoiding sugar to improve my skin more than anything.

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