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Hello! My name is Marisa. A few years ago when I was living in San Diego, I was diagnosed with Melanoma, which is a serious form of skin cancer. At the time, I was only 25 and in complete utter disbelief. Thankfully, I had the best Dermatologist who spotted it (shout out to Dr. Agata Marriotin Del Mar!). From there, I was then referred to Dr. Hubert Greenway at the Bighorn Mohs Surgery and Dermatology Center at Scripps, who surgically removed the melanoma. Now I am grateful to be in the clear!
Since my case came as such a shock to me, I thought it’d be helpful to share what I’ve learned about sun damage since then and ways to prevent it…while still living your life. With that, here’s the Basic B*tch Guide to Preventing Sun Damage:
+ Wear SPF daily
I say this full-heartedly. Wear SPF on your face, your hands, your neck, and your boobs. Seriously, please just slather yourself in it! You do not want sun damage OR wrinkles OR any form of skin cancer so be proactive and consistent even on cloudy days! Do not forget to reapply. My favorites include Shiseido Ultimate Sun Protection Lotion SPF 50, Elta MD UV Clear SPF 46, Supergoop Glow Stick SPF 50 and Sun Bum SPF 70.
+ Conduct Self-Skin Checks
You know your own body best. Make it a priority to look at your skin, freckles, moles, birthmarks, and blemishes to make note of any changes. If you have not been paying attention all this time, start now…it is never too late to begin self-checks! I caught my melanoma because I noticed the mole on my back had significantly changed.
+ Visit a Dermatologist annually
Or more if you are at higher risk like myself. Aside from conducting your own self-skin care checks, the next best person who will look at every nook and cranny on your body is your Dermatologist. Make sure they look between the toes, the butt, lady/gent parts, and all over your scalp. Make sure to make an appointment for a FULL body skin check.
+ Know the how to spot common characteristics of Melanoma by following the ABCDE method:
Asymmetry: melanoma is often not uniform which means that if you were to draw a line down the half of your mole the two sides would not be symmetrical.
Border: melanoma oftentimes is irregular in shape and sometimes has vague, non-defined borders.
Color: melanoma can have various colors and shades.
Diameter: a growth is usually larger than 6mm in diameter.
Evolution: melanoma often changes over time in color, shape, and size. This is why I urge you to keep an eye on any visible growths to watch for any characteristics manifesting on your skin.
+ Wear sun-protective clothing, sunglasses & hats
Nowadays fashion keeps up with sun safety. Look for clothing that has UPF 50+. Use sunglasses that have UV- absorbent capabilities to block out harmful UV rays. Lastly, find yourself a beautiful wide-brim hat but make sure it has UPF (ultraviolet protection factor) properties!
+Use self-tanning lotion vs. sun tanning
There are healthier ways of achieving that sun-kissed glow and if you have not heard, it does not have to be outdoors! Do yourself a huge favor and commit to using self-tanning lotions such as Sivan’s gorgeous line of products +Lux Unfiltered. Sun tanning might give you an instant glow but I can guarantee it will leave you with lasting damage that you will be trying to cover up for years to come.
We all know that sunshine plays an important role in our health but it is important to know that there are ways of going about it safely so that you are reaping the benefits instead of facing consequences. I used to love to have tan skin but now I am more interested in having healthy skin. I hope this guide helps you through the upcoming summer months! You can find me on Insta if you want to chat more. XO XO