After seeing those videos of the Tanning Mom from New Jersey (yes, my home state. We are so proud), it occurred to me that I probably needed to get back on my sunscreen game before I too ended up looking like Samsonite luggage.
Leathery skin and melanoma concerns aside, I have another condition called Melasma, which causes my face to get brown in patches on my cheeks, forehead and, most unfortunately, my upper lip. This is not the nice even tan you see in the Ban de Soleil commercials. This is the kind of tan that makes you look like a Bernese Mountain Dog, but without the tail and cute doggy disposition.
The only way to avoid getting these brown patches is to avoid the sun. However, it is hard to stay out of the sun when you have two kids who are involved in sports. Of course I could wear a hat, but since I have short hair, whenever I wear a hat I look like I am bald which is actually an even less flattering look for me than the Bernese Mountain Dog style. Even worse, the hat flattens my hair so badly when I take it off, it looks like someone drew the hair on my head with a Sharpie.
To top all this off, I am allergic to 90 % of the sunscreens out there so I usually end up with puffy eyes and tears streaming down my face whenever I use the stuff.
So just to recap, here is my cool summer look:
-dark brown shadow on my upper lip.
If you guessed Groucho Marx, you’d be right on the money.
Compassionate as my husband is, he did not sign up to be married to either a dog or Marx Brother, so I thought I owed it to him to find some other way to avoid the sun on my face.
Fortunately I was able to find a truly hypoallergenic sunscreen and started applying it liberally every morning after my moisturizer. My mother always said to use moisturizer and sunscreen every day and I always listen to my mother, except, of course when she told me to have more children. Unfortunately, my mother did NOT say anything about which order you do this in and I always assumed, moisturizer first, sunscreen second. So imagine my dismay when I was listening to the TV one morning as I got ready and found out I had been doing it WRONG!
“Always apply your sunscreen first!” warned the talking head on the TV show. “Moisturizer first can neutralize the sunscreen and make it ineffective.”
I looked down at the tube of moisturizer in my hands and the remnants of the cream that I had just smeared all over my face seconds before.
“Whaaaa?” I shrieked.
I quickly washed my face but the cream had instantly been sucked into my dry skin and I knew the damage had already been done.
I wondered how much sun had already snuck into my skin while I was screwing up the order of my face creams. I peered into the mirror and thought I could see the beginning of a sun-stache forming on my upper lip. I thought it was just a matter of time before Harpo and Chico came looking for their long lost brother.
There wasn’t really anything I could do about the sun exposure I’d already been, um, exposed to, but I was not going to let anymore evil sun rays penetrate my face.
I went through my assortment of baseball caps, floppy hats, wide brim hats, straw hats and fedoras that I had bought impulsively, hoping they would look better on me at home than they did at the store, but didn’t. Unfortunately they still made me look bald so I rejected that idea.
Then I did a rain dance to try to appeal to the precipitation gods and block the sun with storm clouds. But when I checked the forecast, there was no rain on the horizon.
Finally I rummaged through the closet and stumbled upon something I could wear that wouldn’t block the sun from my cheeks, but would definitely keep it off my upper lip and forehead.
Unfortunately, it won’t do much to dispel the Groucho Marx comparison.