Sunburn, Sunscreen, Rashguards, and Hats…Oh My

What Is It Like To Sunburn And Never Tan?

1. When my teen was 9, she would tell me that she wanted to lie in the sun with her friends and “tan.” Not wanting to burst her bubble, I agreed to her plan as I applied layers of SPF 50.

2. One day at the pool I was applying sunscreen to myself. A friend’s mom commented that I used more sunscreen in one application than she did for the entire summer.

3. My family took a trip to the Greek island of Corfu when I was 8. Upon arrival we were sent to the wrong hotel thanks to an incompetent travel agent. When we arrived at the right hotel, we waited hours to finally get our hotel room. We were traveling with a few British families and all the kids wanted to do was swim. Somehow in all the confusion of sifting through luggage to find swimsuits and goggles, my always-conscientious-about-applying-sunscreen mother forgot to apply sunscreen. I spent a glorious afternoon floating on an inflatable raft soaking in the Greek sun. That night and the rest of the trip I was MISERABLE. My back, legs, and feet were sunburned. I had blisters on my back. Even sleeping under a light sheet was too much pressure for my back. My mother had to drape the sheet over two pillows. I had to wear an old-t-shirt of my dads during the day. That was my first and last childhood sunburn.

4. I wore a t-shirt to swim as a child even when lifeguards objected to me “wearing clothes in the pool.” As an adult I stopped wearing a t-shirt as I was too embarrassed. Applying gobs of sunscreen usually did the trick until the day I bobbed in the pool for over an hour while my toddler jumped in to the pool.  The sunscreen I applied liberally wore off and by late evening I was miserable. My back and shoulders were on fire. I couldn’t move without wincing in pain. Days later I was still in pain. I remember shopping for a TV cabinet and not being able to stop myself from rubbing my back on the sharp edge of a TV cabinet. As I rubbed, I felt brief relief from the incessant itching for a few brief seconds. The relief was short lived. Soon I was in pain from rubbing my back on that sharp edge. Ouch. Aloe Vera Gel helped relieve the pain. This was my first and last adult sunburn.

5. Applying sunscreen to my back and shoulders is hit or miss with my short T-Rex arms. Add to the mix my concerns that my children weren’t up to the task of adequately spreading sunscreen on Mommy’s back. A rash guard shirt was the only answer. Yes, I look ridiculous wearing a long-sleeve rash guard shirt in the pool. Yes, I’m sure when I wear the rash guard at the beach, my lack of a surf board is surprising to some. But that rash guard shirt gives me peace of mind.

If you see me at the pool, I’ll be the one slathering sunscreen on to whatever body parts are not covered by my long-sleeved, mock turtle neck rash guard shirt and UV protection sun hat. I’m a sight to behold.

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