|Soaking in the sun as a teenager!|
I can't tell you how many times I heard that growing up in Texas. I was a sun worshiper, and I spent every single summer baking in the hot Texas sun. (most of the time without sunscreen and probably slathered in baby oil) Like most kids, I loved being in a pool and took swimming lessons every summer. As I became a teenager, I still loved hanging out at the pool, but my tan was most important, not learning the breast stroke. I remember my mom telling me, "Andria you are going to get wrinkles and be sorry you spent so much time in the sun!" My response? "Mom when I am old and 30 I will just deal with it then!" HAHAHA, eating my words now.
I continued to tan and use tanning beds all throughout college (sometimes everyday!), but when I moved to NYC I was less concerned with my tan because the outdoor sunning season is much shorter, there aren't many pools in the city and tanning beds are ridiculously expensive. Plus, to fit into New York you should be pale and wear black. (never was my style though) Eventually I stopped completely, only doing a spray tan every so often. For the past few years I have been the polar opposite of the teenage tanning queen I once was. Now I am completely obsessed with sunscreen and I wear baseball hats or huge floppy hats in the sun. I don't like any sun to touch my face!
I wish I could say that was from a fear of getting skin cancer, and that is definitely a concern of mine. But I am mostly concerned with premature aging now. I have been told that you do most of the damage to your skin as a teenager and in your early twenties...but I don't see how continuing to beat your skin up in the sun is beneficial, even though everyone thinks they look better with a tan. Including me!
I read an article this May in Glamour magazine that explained what warning signs to look for on your skin and what your moles should and shouldn't look like. You can read the online version here. I couldn't even remember if I had ever been to a dermatologist so it has been a nagging thought at the back of my head. I have a patch of moles on my back that I have needed to get checked out, so I finally made the appointment and went today. Like most things, I kept putting it off for fear of what they may tell me.
I stripped down into my little gown and prepared myself for the uncomfortable exam that awaited me. I don't care what kind of small talk they try to make...there are two situations that are uncomfortable no matter what. A bikini wax and a full body search for moles. The appointment was going quickly and smoothly, but when the doctor measured and took a closer look at the moles on my back he decided one would need to be biopsied. The doctor left the room while the nurse prepared my back for the scrape, and I tried not to freak out. I asked her a million questions and learned this mole they were taking a sample of was very large and had dark spots in it. Because of the location of the mole, I have been unable to monitor it and see if it has been changing through the years. All of those symptoms she described I recognized from the Glamour article I read, however the nurse told me not to automatically assume the worst and that most likely it is an atypical mole.
I will get the results back in a week or so and I am trying not to worry and obsess! Until then I have a painful spot on my back to take care of. If there is a problem...I am thankful I finally went to see the dermatologist so I can deal with it, instead of ignoring it. Another task checked off of my list! Please wear sunscreen and please get a check-up from your dermatologist!!!