Sunscreaming meemees

sunscreenA Facebook friend recently posted something that made me want to go find her and smack her in the head.

I’m not normally a violent person. I am a big talker, though, so by “smack her in the head,” I mean “give her a stern look and maybe stick my tongue out at her.”

But I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings, so I’ll probably just wait until she’s not looking.

This person recently posted a link to an article on “How to make a non-toxic, homemade sunscreen.”

Or no sunscreen, she commented. I believe skin cancer comes from within. The sun doesn’t scare me half as much as what we put in our bodies and on our bodies.

What the hell? Sunscreen toxic? Skin cancer comes from within?

As a person who has had basal cell carcinoma cut off my outsides three times now, I’d like to say what’s coming from my within is an unhealthy dose of wanting to kick this person right in the butt.

At the same time, this is the first I’d heard of problems with sunscreen at all, which made it seem like a good idea to conduct just enough internet research to send me screaming into my pillow.

And because I have gobs of time (note the italics, which in this case denote sarcasm), and probably a smattering of adult ADD, that’s just what I’ve done.

I don’t kid myself into thinking I’m immune to media hyperbole about the latest safety panic. I’m just as likely as the next schmo to hear something that rings even remotely true and change my consumer behavior on a whim. I’ve also been known to repeat patently false but interesting sounding sound bytes because I talk faster than my brain works, and I’m not all that concerned with accuracy.

At the same time, deep in the heart of any girl who grew up in the eighties is the secret fear that she’ll end up the subject of a b-grade comedy e.g. Lily Tomlin’s Incredible Shrinking Woman; reduced in size to the point I share a wardrobe with Barbie because all the toxic products I’ve waded through and ingested and foisted upon my children.

Actually, that’s not a secret fear, necessarily, of any girl who grew up in the eighties. I just made that up. See how I do?

A couple of things I know I know (we’ll call them TRUE FACTS):

  • I run. And I’d rather run outside in any weather than on a treadmill. I’d actually rather do anything, including stab my eyes out with a fork, than run on a treadmill. I also do a lot of other outdoor stuff as well, from yard work to just sitting there, picking my nose, or whatever. I live by the ethic that is impossible to actually waste time outside.
  • I’d rather not have to wear a space suit or a burqa in order to spend time outside.
  • I sweat. A lot. When I get done with a workout, you’d think I just jumped into a pool. This is something I used to hate as a high school student who was forced into any PE class before 6th period, after which I could just plop my sweaty self on a bus seat and go home. I’m pretty sure it should have been against the Geneva Convention to give a high school girl only five minutes after gym class to shower and somehow refresh the sausage-roll-curls-big-hair that was popular in that era.
  • I’ve changed hairstyles, but the sweat thing is still a problem. Since I do way more embarrassing things than sweat (like lip sync Britney Spears while running, or belt out Barbara Streisand to my departing children from the front porch in my fuzzy robe and slippers) I’m no longer mortified by the fact I sweat like livestock. Sweating does, however, make the spacesuit or burqa thing even less attractive as sun protection, and it also would seem to necessitate the need for waterproof sunscreen.
  • I do quote stupid stuff I remember hearing, but can’t back up, as indisputable fact (note to my mom: that thing I was telling you last night at dinner about the FDA not having anything to do with cosmetics or sunscreen is a total baloney. I have no idea where I got it, but at the time I would have gone toe to toe with anyone who wanted to argue).
  • (another note to mom: you are hereby barred from using the preceding statement against me in any argument, ever. And the next fact I repeat will be absolutely, indisputably true. You can put that in the bank. And I mean that in the nicest, most loving daughterly way possible).

This is all a long preamble to the results of my unscientific internet research and personal foray into the subject of

deadly skincare products which could potentially turn you and your children into sunscreaming meemees

… or maybe not. Either way, I’ve looked up some stuff about sunscreen which is kind of enlightening and highly contradictory, and which I’m still trying to figure out a way to put into a blog that’s kind of remotely factual and still entertaining. It’s going to require my thinking cap and a modicum of sobriety.

If I’m successful, it could be a big deal. I could save the world.

I think big like that.

In the meantime, don’t stop going outside. Just wear a big, floppy hat.


And VOTE. You can do so at least once a day. I appreciate the support. Thanks!



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  1. I also quote a lot of stuff that I can never back up! Only that I don\’t argue because I\’m such a sissy LOL
    Such a same, the summer is ending over here but I have yet to enjoy the sun. I cannot remember the last time I went out for a stroll.

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