I grew up in Miami in the ’70s and ’80s when sunscreen was, shall we say, less dynamic. Basically there was Coppertone 8 and white zinc oxide. Maybe there was more in the middle, but I can really only remember people with oil slicked tanned skin laying out and their fairer counterparts under hats with zinc on their noses.
As a kid, I do not recall sunscreen being a rule, the way I make it a rule for my alabaster-skinned daughters. I actually feel physically fearful when their porcelain skin is exposed to the sun for more than 10 minutes. My mom should have instituted that rule because my girls got their milky complexions from ME. One summer in tennis camp, I got so fried, I had to wear that white zinc on my entire face and a baseball cap.
So I’ve known for a very long time that:
A: I am not a person who tans
B: I don’t just not tan, I burn painfully and quickly.
So I can’t really tell you why, when we went on vacation recently, I found myself closing my eyes and tilting my face to the sun thinking Tan Thoughts.
In just one afternoon, my face turned crustacean red and a confetti of freckles showed up like they were raving at the sunburn party.
I didn’t “get color.” I got burned. I know my skin responds like this to the sun yet some small, very dictating part of myself thought that maybe getting a little sun kissed would be nice. Clearly, I will never have such romance with the sun. There will never be a tender blush of pink or the warm embrace of a healthy glow. Now and forever it will be the fireball in the sky that only brings me pain and ugliness.
Why do we even strive to darken our skin in the sun? Where did this beauty ideal originate? I mean, if you know anything, or at least watch Downton Abbey, you’d realize that tanned skin is for workers who aren’t skilled enough to have a more civilized job indoors. Pure skin is the sign of privilege and royalty.
Therefore, my girls, whose aforementioned milky white complexions not only burn but also develop rashes with most sunscreens, will be wearing California Baby Super Sensitive Broad Spectrum 30+ Sunscreen Stick on their faces, which will also be under cute hats with SPF 50, and I’ll be coating their pale little bodies with Suntegrity Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Baby SPF 30 a few times a day.
As for me, I’m not only slatheringSuntegrity Skincare Natural Moisterizing Sunscreen & Primer, Broad Spectrum SPF 30 underneath my makeup everyday and lathering the brand’s Natural Mineral Sunscreen for Body all over my exposed parts daily–I’m buying a parasol, too.
*I only recommend sunscreens that are free of: Parabens, Phthalates, Propylene Glycol, Mineral Oils, Synthetic Dyes, Sulfates, Paba, Titanium Dioxide, Nano-Particles and Chemical UV Absorbers.