Skin Cancer Update, Awareness, and Sun Protection

If you all are new here or haven't read for awhile back in January 2017 I had a basal cell carcinoma removed from my upper forehead, you can read more here.  I had planned to talk about it more on the blog but life got in the way and while the surgery and recovery were easy, having a scar on my forehead has been a little harder for me than I predicted it would be.

While the basal cell they removed from my face was only about 2 centimeters in size my scar is about 1.5 inches, which doesn't sound like a lot until it's on your face.  This is all strictly from a cosmetic stand point, I know I'm so lucky it wasn't worse but it's been hard trying to figure out how to cover up the scar and at the same time accept it for what it is without judging my own appearance.  

I felt like at this point I was probably in the clear and didn't really see any spots or moles that I thought looked suspicious.  Then last week I went to my annual skin scan with my dermatologist, I will now go every 6 months for awhile, and she found another spot on the side of my nose that she thinks looks suspicious.  She biopsied it and I'm praying that it's nothing.  She said she's hoping it is too, but she wants to be extra cautious right now.   

During the months between my surgery and skin scan in April my Dad was diagnosed with two superficial melanomas, thankfully God is good, and they were right on the surface and easily removed with surgery but now he realizes he needs to be a lot more diligent too.   

So at the moment skin cancer is in the forefront of my family's brain. We are leaving on a family trip to Florida on Saturday and the amount of skin screen, hats, and rash guards coming with us this year is comical.  We are all taking this very seriously.  Skin cancer is no joke, and I don't want any of us to have to feel the affects of having a more serious version.  If you didn't know already May is melanoma and skin cancer awareness month.

Here are some statistics that always stand out to me from the Skin Cancer Foundation:

  • Each year in the U.S. over 5.4 million cases of nonmelanoma skin cancer are treated in more than 3.3 million people
  • Each year there are more new cases of skin cancer than the combined incidence of cancers of the breast, prostate, lung and colon.
  • Over the past three decades, more people have had skin cancer than all other cancers combined.
  • One in five Americans will develop skin cancer in the course of a lifetime.
Since my diagnosis I've done a lot of research for cute sun protection clothing items for my whole family, along with sunscreen that is both safe and protective so I've rounded up my favorites below.  

1. Elta MD daily sunscreen-  I just started using this daily face sunscreen as a recommendation from my dermatologist.  It has a zinc oxide base so it's a physical sunscreen barrier which is preferred and all the reviews say that it rubs in well and doesn't make people break out.  So far I agree and felt like it sunk into my skin right away but I'm only on day 2 so I will keep you posted and let you know how it works/makes my skin feel after continued use.  I opted for the tinted version, which I think will be great for summer but I will probably use the regular not tinted in the winter since it's darker than my skin complexion.

2. Coola Spray Sunscreen and Vanicream-  these are two more of my favorite sunscreens for myself and Kyle.  The Coola spray is a go-to for putting on quickly with the kids but I try to slather the Vanicream on myself when I know I'll be outside for extended periods of time.  It's taken me sometime to get used to the initial white tint of zinc oxide sunscreens but I'm find that most of them do blend in with thorough application and waiting 10-15 minutes.

3. Rashguards-  I am new to wearing rash guards so when I started to look I didn't really know where to begin. Most of them are pretty pricey but I know they are worth it for the sun protection!  Most of the ones you can find on the market are of bathing suit material and have a UPF protection of around 50.  I found this adorable striped on at Lands End of all places when I was busy looking for some for the kids and it was only $30!   The next cute option I found was Cabana Life.  This brand is new to me but all their swim wear and clothing has UPF 50 in it!! I am so impressed with this company that I  can see myself giving them lots of business through the years.

4. Cover-ups-  This striped tassel one is one of my favorites and yes I know the back is open but I love having an option that covers up a lot of my body but is still fun and cute without making me look frumpy.  I also really love this option and this one too.

5. Hats- Hats!!! I cannot stress hats enough and I will be the first to tell you it's taken me a long time to like wear hats.  It's hard to find cute ones that aren't too big or floppy.  This first J.Crew hat is just too cute to pass up and I like that the brim gives some coverage but isn't too big.  This second one was my go-to hat last year.  The Cappelli face saver hat has the big brim of a sun hat but only in the front so you can easily sit back in a chair or lay on a towel with it.  It was also very easy to run around with the kids in since there wasn't big sides blocking my view that I had to keep adjusting.  Last but not least is the good old baseball cap.  I love my Vineyard Vines ones for the colors and comfort that I keep coming back to them year after year.  I usually by mine at the outlet by our house but I'm pretty Kyle and I each have a total of 6 of them in varying colors.

6. Nike Men's Hydro Shirt UPF 40-  When I started looking for rash guards for myself I looked for some options for Kyle too. He is even more fair skinned than me so I really wanted to find something for him but I knew he would be picky.  He didn't want it to be a tight rash guard that you would use for surfing but he didn't want it to look too bulky either.  Enter this great short sleeve sport shirt for men. I just found this while searching online and it's exactly what he was looking for.   I picked one up for my dad and brother in law too just in case.

7. Land's End Kids Rash Guards-  These are my absolute favorite rash guards for the kids! They are available in long sleeve and short sleeve in a variety of colors but I always opt for the long sleeve.  Even though it gets super hot and humid where we live my kids are in the water 90% of the time we're at the pool or beach so I know they don't get too hot in these shirts and since sunscreen doesn't last forever and toddlers are hard to keep still to put sunscreen on anyway I like this added layer of protection.

8. Hats for the kids-  I love, love, love these Hanna Andersson swimmy hats for the kids.  They are made of bathing suit material so they can get wet and dry quickly.  My kids have never once complained about them.  I was worried hat Miller might be too old to wear them this summer but he already willingly put one on at my parents house last weekend so I'm thinking I'll get another summer out of him.  When we're not in the water I always have the kids wear baseball caps.  I got these navy blue ones from J.Crew this spring and so far they've been great. The have an adjustable back to loosen or tighten them which has worked well for us.

9. Babyganics Sunscreen and Think Baby Sunscreen- these are my two go-to sunscreens for the kids. I switch back and forth just depending on the day or our activities for the day.  I have found that the spray top of the Babyganics comes in handy when I have anxious toddlers who don't want to sit still, and don't worry it's not an aerosol spray it's the same exact consistency just a little easier to get out of the bottle.

What are some ways you use promote sun protection for your family?  What's your favorite sunscreen for kids?  Do you have a daily face sunscreen you love? 

*This post is in no way sponsored this is just a cause that is near and dear to my heart right now and so preventable that I want to give it as much awareness as possible!!*

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  1. I know a lot of people think African Americans are immune to skin issues but I get bad heat rashes every summer - or I did until I realized they weren't heat rashes but sun burn. So now I keep especially my neck and arms covered when I'm going to be out in direct sunlight for a long time.
    Thanks for sharing this post and increasing the awareness about skin cancer. It's a real thing.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing. My FIL is fighting skin cancer, and it is real and so scary. Obviously, now we are tremendously more diligent with sun safety. I agree with you about hats too; they are so important!

  3. Love that you're sharing this! I'm also fair skinned, freckled and a red head to boot, so I'm basically enemies with the sun (and I live at the beach. Strug Life). My husband sometimes thinks I'm nuts how diligent I am about putting sunscreen on myself and our son for even just playing in the driveway, in the shade, but I'll be the crazy lady all day when it comes to sunscreen. I've had 2 melanomas removed from my right forearm. The largest/deepest one was a stage 1 removal so they went DEEP and I have a full on dent in my arm. My plastic surgeon recommended this scar treatment by SkinMedica and it has seriously worked miracles on minimizing the scar. I put it on twice a day for 6 months, but for your face, since it's a thicker gel, he recommends just doing it at night. Not sure if you can get online, but your derm or a plastic surgeon they can refer you to will likely have it. It's like $40. Totally worth it!


  4. great tips! i always wear a ton of suncreen bc I've had a lot of lot of moles removed in the past. i plan on making sure Vi is covered up this summer too. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

  5. So very important and I just posted about this last week too. I have a large scar on back from a severely dysplastic mold that was removed a few years ago and I've never been to the tanning bed and I wear sunscreen religiously. Proof that skin checks are so important!

  6. Sending all the positive vibes on the new biopsies. I am with you on the skin cancer and know how scary it is. My dad and I have both had surgeries to remove them, his was in the same spot as yours. His dermatologist is actually doing laser therapy on it to remove the scar, plus lots of Vitamin E oil and Scar Away are helping a ton! I got the iT Cosmetics powder in SPF 50 that I brush on constantly to help add protection on top of protection!

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us! As a fellow fair-skinned gal who's had too many sunburns too, I've been meaning to get to the dermatologist so now I really will!

    Chow Down USA

  8. I really hope your other spot is nothing!! My parents just had their first checks ever Monday. They came back clear (and with the promise to go annually). I just ordered think baby for our family to try. I use first aid beauty face moisturizing sunscreen for me daily. I want to try beautycounter or goop at some point. We are at the baseball field all day on saturdays and I'm so paranoid bc Katherine is under 6 months. We have UPF tent we use there and at home and we all have hats. Chris and I both want rash guards. I love the striped one you found! It looks like you will be well protected on vacation.

  9. Thank you for sharing all of this information & the goodies! We are set to go to the beach over Memorial Day weekend & I desperately need to get Jack some rash guards. I'll definitely be picking those up at Lands End!!

  10. Thank you for sharing your story and lots of items to check out. My aunt has suffered with skin cancer and I have very fair skin that is prone to burns so I am a big proponent for lots of sunscreen and shade. Jess at Just Jess

  11. Thanks so much for sharing all of this! Praying your spot isn't anything!

    McKenzie, Somethin' Southern

  12. I am so sorry that you have to go through this! I have been warned many times about sunscreen from my dermatologist since I am so fair. Thanks to my husband, my children are less fair than I, but I need a suggestion on where to go for a hat for a 6 year old girl. My son wears a baseball cap, my 4 year old will wear those cute sunhats, but my older girl is a fashionista and is very particular about what she wears. Any suggestions on stylish hats for "older" girls? :)

  13. My family, too, has a history of skin cancer, so I'm super aware of it as well. I LOOOOOVE Elta MD. My dermatologist also recommended it to me. I use it daily for my face (the tinted version above), and we also use some of the other Elta MD versions (the sport and another one I can't think of right now).


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