We all remember those lazy summer days… I used to lube myself up in baby oil, get the Spindoctors cranking on my discman, and drag the folding lawn chair to the backyard. I baked under the hot sun while dreaming of how I was going to someday marry Luke Perry (aka Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills 90210).
The picture I paint allows for a lovely little trip down memory lane… While this practice was was ok then – it is not okay now. No, obsessing over Dylan McKay is still fine. I mean – the baking in the sun part. Now we know that frying our skin is BAD for us.
I always appreciated that mantra “If you can’t tone it, tan it!” but alas I have made my peace with toning over tanning. It burns in a different kind of way – in the Gluteus Maximus kind of way. And it has long term health benefits! I’ve also learned that bronzers, creams, and spray-on lotions are a great alternative. You get that healthy “Dancing With The Stars” glow while still protecting yourself from harmful UVA and UVB rays.
These days I lube my little ones up with baby oil only aprés-bath, and spf 50 when we are headed outside. My mom had a melanoma removed last year. My dad has had many cancerous spots taken off his face and body and so has my husband’s father. Skin cancer clearly runs in our families and we need to take it seriously.
My friend Meg Geisler reminded me recently that we have to set the tone with our kids. We need to create a baseline (pun intended) that is different for our children so they will grow up knowing that creamy white skin is just as beautiful as having a tan. And it’s safer. I really commend Meg for speaking out against societal norms. We are living in a tantastic world – but that’s got to change. Meg knows firsthand just how dangerous not caring for your skin be. Below she tells how and why she started a skin-conscious non-profit and the change she hopes to make by helping people become more aware.
Q&A with Meg Geisler, Founder of SPF Love
How and why did you become involved with skin cancer awareness?
I got the news in late 2008. I don’t really remember much of the conversation with my doctor. The specific mole that he referenced was one of many things I had had removed during yet another visit to the plastic surgeon. This one, he said, was melanoma. Maybe it’s the “shark bite” scar, as I like to call it, on my arm? Maybe it’s the fear, that deepens with time, of not being here for my children that really made it all sink in a few years after the diagnosis. Melanoma. I had cancer… that I could have prevented. I had it because I cared so much about my appearance – I would almost call it an addiction to being tan. I didn’t frequent the tanning salon, but I did use a tanning bed prior to prom. Laying out on long summer days and keeping a nice tan going all summer… we all did it. But that was then…
And SPF Love?
It came to me one sleepless night – SPF Love. And so it began with a mission to make avoiding the sun more stylish, while raising awareness of melanoma. The goals are providing protection for those in need and changing children’s perception of beautiful skin. I’m noticing a change in attitude toward the sun these days. Large retailers like J.Crew are offering stylish rashguards and CT has a bill on the floor that could ban indoor tanning for everyone under 18 in the state.
Sunscreen is obviously the best answer. What is your favorite suncreen right now?
As we approach the official start of summer treat yourself to some SPF Love…
I’m often asked, what is your favorite sunscreen? The answer is, I have many, depending on where I am and what I am doing. But my favorite, everyday SPF is MD Solar Sciences Mineral Tinted Creme in SPF 30. It goes on smooth and almost powdery and gives you a nice tinted coverage that is lighter than a tinted moisturizer. I even use it when I go out at night!
What do you do when you head out on a cloudy day and the sun suddenly appears? Anything you always keep in your bag?
I often find myself stuck, outside when I hadn’t planned on it, and without coverage. Enter Eminence Sun Defense Minerals. This powder or bronzer (depending on the shade you choose) contains SPF 30 that can be dusted on top of your makeup. Genius.
Any other stylish ways to shade yourself?
No wardrobe is complete without a great hat or two. The beach kind should be of the wide brimmed variety for maximum coverage. Eugenia Kim is the creme de la creme of milliners. The Cecily line (pictured below) is a classic choice. For a more casual, bohemian look, check out the Michaela.
What can we all do to help the cause?
May is Melanoma Awareness Month and there are plenty of ways you can get involved.
1. We’ve just launched the 2013 SPF Love Sunscreen Drive. Sunscreen is an expensive item, one that most low income families do without. This year we have partnered with The Lower Eastside Girls Club, whose members attend camp in Upstate New York in June. Throughout the entire month of May, donations will be accepted at all Letarte Swimwear locations or may be mailed directly to SPF Love, PO Box 5312, Greenwich, CT 06831.
2. SPF Love Tees can be purchased at spflove.com or at Letarte Greenwich. 10% of the proceeds will go to The Danny Fund, a charity founded to honor the memory of Danny Federici, long time member of The E Street Band, who died from melanoma in 2008.
4. The most important thing you can do is lead by example. Be a sun safe role model for those that look up to you. You can be safe without sacrificing style, promise.