Thursday, 31 July 2014

Wanting A Tan OR Sitting In The Shade?

Today I want you to be really honest......when you go on holiday do you really sit in the shade?

I don't.

You read the warnings of the harm the sun can do and you slap on a high factor suncream but who listens to the other bit of advice: avoid the midday sunshine from 12-3pm?

I don't.

I hang my head in sunburnt shame.

After enjoying two weeks of very hot temperatures I wasn't as careful as I should have been. To make matters worse, I am the person who preaches to others about minimising skin damage, take good care of your skin and drink plenty of water, etc etc etc.

But the temptation of getting a nice golden tan overruled my sensible thoughts. I would let you give me a slap on the wrist if it wasn't for the fact they're so dry that it will probably be more painful than usual.

I have always done my utmost to never burn in the sun, I do wear a high factor sun cream and I do apply it liberally every hour for when I am trying to catch a few rays. But even when it got ridiculously hot I didn't move, I stayed lying on the sunlounger. I was determined to get some colour on my fair skin. And I did, but at what cost?

I have never burnt like I did this year. I couldn't understand it, what had I done wrong because I wore a top notch lotion and yet I still reddened like the infamous lobster. Every evening after taking a tepid shower I would apply copious amounts of after-sun but my skin was suffering badly so the next day I had to stay indoors and avoid the glorious sunshine.

Last Friday I was okay to sit in the sun again, so I thought, well, my skin wasn't red anymore so what harm could it do? How stupid was I? My selfish needs for a tan overruled any small doubts of burning again. I assumed my skin would be getting used to the sun by now, so I'd be perfectly okay. I lay in the sun devouring the latest Caitlin Moran book "How To Build A Girl", amazing book you must read it, and I was enjoying myself relaxing. Who wouldn't?

It wasn't until later that evening I realised something was seriously wrong with my left leg, this was no ordinary sunburn. It was so painful I was flinching everytime my skirt slightly brushed my shin. The next day it was even worse. Small blisters started to appear and by Sunday they had increased in size. I had got a second degree burn. Ouch! I kept applying cold wet cloths to soothe the burning but nothing was helping, it was excruciatingly painful. How stupid had I been??

I was utterly perplexed as to why I had burnt so badly, I've never encountered anything like this before and to be honest, I'd never had sunburn before let alone second degree burns. I hobbled to the doctors on Monday morning and it was confirmed what I had done. My GP gave me the brutal truth of what I had done and what will happen next and it's not a good story.

What I had failed to take into account when I was sunbathing is that the medication I am on does affect my skin. I've been itching for the past year because of it so it was without question I was going to burn if I sat in the sun no matter what usual sun protection I undertook. How ignorant had I been all for the sake of getting a tan?

Of course, I have learnt my lesson the hard way and I am now left with a very purple and red blistered shin which has a nice blob of saggy skin hanging from it which flaps across the top of very raw skin now the main blister has burst.

I am sure if I had avoided the midday sunshine I wouldn't have burnt quite so badly, moreover if I'd sat in the shade then I wouldn't be in this predicament at all. I am a very very stupid lady. I'd always prided myself on the fact that I was not some tanning whore wearing only low factor sun creams on my skin to cook myself senseless and was glad I didn't have a crepe paper d├ęcolletage like hardcore sun worshippers. Now I realise there were bits of advice I had foolishly ignored simply because I had never burnt before so surely I'd be okay.

If you are about to go on your holiday then please be careful, don't be daft and think a tan is more important than your skin's health. If you still think you want to get a tan after reading my story then I will be more than happy to send you a picture of my gruesome looking leg and maybe then you will think twice.

Teresa x