We have suffered from some of the hottest days on record, here in the St. Louis metro area. I hope you are all wearing your sunscreen when you venture out of the house. Many of the experts advise putting on sunscreen in the morning before leaving the house and reapplying every couple of hours throughout the day. This is a good idea if you're spending your day outside but I think it may be a little overkill if you work in an office like I do.
I grew up in the 70s and 80s and didn't start wearing sunscreen until I was an adult in the 90s. I know sunscreen was around when I was a kid and teen but I don't know anyone who used it. Actually, my mom and all of my summertime girlfriends back then would slather their skin with oils and suntan lotion. These oils would enhance the sun's rays and it was their hopes that they would get a deep dark tan.
I also remember a girlfriend getting a horrible burn on a trip to the Indiana Dunes off of Lake Michigan. How many of you remember putting on baby oil when you laid out in the sun? Carcinoma was not a word that was talked about back then. Today, my teen and preteen kids wear sunscreen like wearing a seatbelt. They don't think twice about it. The new sprays (expensive) are convenient and go on in seconds as apposed to creams that can get messy and leave your skin feeling oily.
The first sunscreen or sunblock was invented back in 1938 by a chemist named Franz Greiter. According to Wikipedia, he named his new invention Gletscher Crème (Glacier Cream). His new product is said to have had an SPF of 2 compared to today's SPF that go as high as 100. Experts are starting to scoff at these numbers claiming they have become a marketing gimmick and are confusing to the consumer.
So why the big push for wearing sunscreen? Did skin cancer not exist back in the 70's? Sure skin cancer existed but we were not bombarded with as much media coverage as we are today. Some experts blame the rise in skin cancer among women 18 to 39 to tanning beds, others disagree. What we do know is over exposure to the sun's UVA and UVB rays are damaging to the skin. Those with lighter complexions are at higher risk. UVA and UVB refers to ultraviolet light of differing wave lengths.
It seems like everything today causes cancer. Some of those things like soda seem a little far fetched. If you take things in moderation you should be alright but hey ya never know. This computer I'm typing on may be the cause of my demise maybe not today but someday. I'm going to try to remember to apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going outside and I'm going to reapply as recommended if for no other reason than to be a good role model for my kids.