Open Thread

Monday Flashback OT: Sun Sins

Good evening, Persephoneers! I hope this week is off to a good start. This weekend it was hot and sunny in my neighborhood, and my family starting slathering on the sunscreen. My daughter got her first sunburn ever last weekend, and she now will not go outside unless I spray her with SPF 50. Which got me thinking about the late ’80s and my exploits in the sun. I wasn’t so much about the SPF as I was about the tan factor – baby oil, Sea & Ski SPF 6, and lemon juice in my hair were my main choices on a sunny day. Unfortunately for me, I got my dad’s Scottish pasty complexion instead of my mom’s Italian olive hue. One summer of attempting to tan was more than enough for me. After that, I stuck with SPF 15 for most of my adolescence.

So what kind of sun sins did you commit? Was it a reflector to get the sun to shine more brightly on your face, Sun-In for your hair or some other ill-conceived beauty product? Is your week off to a good start?

21 replies on “Monday Flashback OT: Sun Sins”

I neeeever used to have to put on sun screen unless I was in direct light for 5+ hours fully exposed…

… buuuut I’m on a series of antibiotics (dat dis-ease) that make my skin so so sensitive. I can start to feel hot-to-touch even in the shade on a bright day. Breaks my heart.

My skin is pale-ish, but only from lack of sun. My dad and sister are mega-olive and damn near resistant to burn. As I get older–I swear–my skin becomes more like my mother’s (super pale, sensitive). Add the antibiotics on top of it and I have no idea what to do with myself in th sun these days. I’m not even sure I have an adequate ‘screen. Definitely don’t have one for my face!

I worked at a summer camp in my college days and befriended the counselor who took the campers on wilderness treks.  She wore long-ish shorts for hiking, so her legs from just above her knee down were really really tan.  On one trek, she brought a different pair of shorts that were a few inches shorter than her usual ones.  The result was a very defined sunburn on her mid-thigh.  a few days later, we went to the beach on our day off and she wore that type of suit with the short shorts instead of a regular bottom.  She had Neapolitan ice cream legs – super tan on the bottom, strawberry sun burn in the middle and vanilla above that.  Good thing she thought it was hilarious too, because I could not keep from laughing!

I tend to forget sunscreen. With a British/Irish skin tone that rivals any classroom whiteboard, I really should be more careful but sunscreen is gross. It really just acts as a bonding agent for dirt, dust, clothing – that ultimately is how it blocks the UV rays, I’m sure of it. Not some chemical, just a thin layer of dirt.

We’re in a week of forecasted rain right now so this talk of sun is making me gloomy. :( It DOWN-POURED yesterday – thankfully just 15 minutes after I got home from my walk from the bus stop. Bullet dodged.

Oh goodness, I was in field school one summer, and spent the better part of an hour kneeling observing something on the ground.  Normally I slather on max SPF, and I did that day.  But it was really hot so I pulled off my tshirt and was only wearing a tank.  It was just a littly bit short and I hadn’t sunscreened the middle of my back….  I was a blistered mess.

It looked like I had angel wings for about a YEAR, and that little swath of blistered skin on my lower back between the shirt and my pants meant that I couldn’t wear jeans for the better part of a week.



I actually just hate being in the sunshine. I hate being too hot. I hate sweating (unless I’m running or working outdoors, in which case, bring it on!) in my “real person” clothes. I hate squinting because I have my glasses on and can’t fit my sunglasses over them. And I hate tanning, because it is BORING.

As a result, my father calls my bare legs “emergency beacons”.

When I was young I’d tan pretty well (and I also did the baby-oil-go-for-extreme thing), but at some point my skin went from ‘turn red then tan’ to ‘turn red and stay red and peel off’ so I’m pretty pale now. The worst is having really fine, thin hair – I can get a sunburned scalp way too easily, and unless I’m wearing a hat or some sort of covering I’m SOL.

I used to do peroxide for the hair; I’d just get pure 30/40 volume and make highlights, or spritz regular household peroxide with a little lemon juice and conditioner for a homemade Sun-In. I had it really blonde for a while (so that I could put funky colors in it and it’d be brighter), but then I went to darker reds so stopped with the lightening. Now it’s a brighter, lighter red so sometimes I still do some peroxide lightening to make it look less flat :)

Forgetting to re-apply. That’s about it. Being Scottish, there’s no particular way of avoiding the burn factor and my goodness, an hour in the sun this morning (well before the 11am-3pm “danger” time, too!) and I came home to find I had gone a nice shade of pink. Whoops. Whipped out my facial sunscreen and made sure the kid-proof sunscreen was ready for applying to Juniper Junior tomorrow morning. The importance of sunscreen has also been rather increased in the past couple of years, since my uncle has had malignant melanoma. Also? Hats and skin-covering clothing!

Oh, the sins of youth. My friends and I used to mix a concoction of baby oil and iodine. We would climb up on top of our houses in order to be closer to the sun.  We lived in the Avra Valley of Arizona. It’s a miracle we didn’t crisp up like pork rinds.

However, the worst sunburn I ever got was when I lived in Colorado. The sun burned the top of my head through my hair. It blistered. It was very painful and seriously gross. I remembered sun screen everywhere else, but now I wear a hat and am faithful with my use of sunscreen.

Tanning beds are the devil. Just sayin’.


Yeahhhh. So, I’ve spent the past nearly five years in the nice, pretty, well-covered Appalachian mountains (the major perk of Baptist College was the location, except for the lack of snow days). The sunscreen that DID work for me there (in the SPF 30 range, reapplied after being out for more than an hour) does NOT do it in central North Carolina. HI SUNBURN. Not a bad one, but still.

I’ve had to do sunscreen for any trip outside longer than half an hour since, well, baby-hood. I’ve had a few bad burns (yeah, back of the knees. OUCH) and lots of minor burns that just make me look like a doofus. Because I am Scottish and there is no tanning there, just burning. I joke that being outside without sunscreen would lead to such adventures as “bursting into flames”, and it’s only half-joking (because it would almost be preferable to the worst burns).

Girl I was “friends with” at Baptist College is paler than I am and a redhead…and she LIVES for that first sunburn. But I guess when sex and alcohol are ~*~evil~*~, you have to get your kicks somehow.

I used to tan as a wee one, but once I hit my early teens, that came to a screeching halt. I remember falling asleep on a dock once and got a butn so bad that I had a criss-cross design on my back for the next five years or so. I learned my lesson about drinking and concerts in large parking lots a few years ago with a burn on my chest and shoulders that was blistered and hurt like a bruise for a couple weeks. Now, being older and wiser, I have SPF 50 spray that I use frequently. And my face moisturizer has SPF 30.

I don’t have ‘sun-crimes’, as my mother always drove the point home about how easily I could get a sun burn.
Two times of forgetting protection and therefore ending up with the backside of my knees and back burned drove the point really really home because not being able to bend your legs stinks. Not being able to put something on your upper body while you’re a blossoming teenager is the death of you.

I was a big time sun-sinner in my youth. Growing up far from the sun (in Edmonton, Canada) and being half-middle eastern means I never burned and only got slightly darker during the summer. Then I moved to Florida for grad school and put my arrogant sunscreen free lifestyle into practice on a trip to the beach not thinking about Tallahassee’s much closer proximity to the equator or being close to a large body of water refracting the sun’s rays. I burned like a 5 ft 1 lobster.  Now I am moderate in my sunscreen usage; I put it on if I am going to be outside for the day and the UV index is high. My boyfriend  who is a pale fellow burns if we are outside for more than 15 minutes on an overcast day.

Er, as someone with reddish-brown hair and extremely pale, freckled skin, I can say with shame that I tried to fight my natural coloring for a while as a kid. I tried lemon juice, I tried “tanning oil” (having a tan, blond BFF didn’t help matters), and it always effed me over in the end. I’d either burn or get a flare-up of my sun rash.

Now I put sunscreen on every day, and even in the weird places when I’m going to be getting lots of sun. By “weird” I mean, ears, hair part, tops of feet…you name it! If I have kids with my coloring I’ll try to teach them to learn from my mistakes.

Pale and freckly – that’s me as well.  I’ve had some nasty burns in my day.  Now I wear SPF 100 on my face, but not because I burn.  It’s because my face turns into a giant freckle and I get an embarrassing freckle mustache.  Hats are also my best friend.

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