Tan Lines

“Daddy, Mommy says I look a little pink.”

Husband: “Did you put block on CP?”

Me: “Yes! Of course! Why, does she look pink to you?”

Husband: “Maybe. Is that a burn? Does she need another coat?”

Life's a beach.
Life’s a beach.

We have spent 65% of this summer talking about sunblock, being “pink”, and tan lines in regard to our three-year-old. We’ve spent the other 35% of our time wrangling said preschooler to smear all exposed skin with block. We have obsessed about the possibility of a burnt scalp because CP is a little thin on top. We’ve revelled in the genius concept of little bathing suits with sleeves and praised the creator of this design because of the amount of time it saves us in sunblock application — and the sheer relief that her tiny porcelain shoulders won’t be blistered.

When I’m not fretting about her skin being ruined by too much sun, I’m wondering whether or not I’m a bad mom because I didn’t pay the full price for the non-toxic sunscreen. I walked through the “nicer section” of Target’s health and beauty area earlier this season … picked up a $40 6 ounce bottle of sunscreen … did some quick math in my head and doubled that price (one for daycare, one for home)… and went back to the area that I could afford. Looks like we’ll be taking a trip on the Banana Boat this summer, CP.

I don’t remember even using sunblock as a kid! Was sun protection even a thing? I think I remember Coppertone, but my mom certainly wasn’t using it on me. My only basis of that statement is the recollection of a ridiculous number of wicked painful sunburns in my youth. My friends’ moms and my mom were smoking cigarettes and sitting in the sand reading books while we frolicked in the sun for hours on end. Peeling layers of skin from my shoulders and chest was a summer evening ritual when I was younger. In my teen years, I recall two options in preparation for a day in the sun: Hawaiian Tropic Dark Tanning Oil and Johnson’s Baby Oil. To this day, the smell of coconuts sends me back to the 90s and that laughable SPF 2 rating. The concept of a burn early on in the season to create a sweet “base tan” did not at all seem like a bad idea.

As an adult, I’ve had some questionable moles removed and some evil sun spots rear their heads. Maybe this is why I sweat the care of my daughter’s skin? Maybe it’s because of the miles of articles I’ve read online or hours of news coverage I’ve seen regarding skin cancer? I’m not sure, but I certainly hope that all of this obsession over sun protection was worth it! And I hope I’m not creating a heliophobic in the meantime. Whoops.

6 thoughts on “Tan Lines

  1. Oh I can relate to this so much! Last weekend I applied sunblock to my 3 year old about every 15 minutes then was convinced he looked pink regardless and made him come inside! But me, I wear nothing and don’t think twice.

  2. I also get the Coppertone stuff and have recently started buying “kids” spray (the stuff that’s rated poorly) as a backup bottle that’s thrown into our beach bag. Applying the safe stuff (zinc oxide) TOTALLY SUX because it’s a barrier block. It smears on and is impossible to wash off. I bought the expensive (same brand as the one you linked) face stuff three years ago and I HATE IT. It does not apply easily and I swear I get worse coverage because it’s so thick.

    So, in my mind, SOMETHING is better than nothing. To me, expensive = nothing because the coverage sux. Hence I will settle for something in the middle.

    For whatever it’s worth, I get the Coppertone Pure and Simple w/ Zinc Oxide. Cheap and relatively safe.

  3. I’ve been concerned about this too. I opt for the bathing suits that cover the shoulders for both kids as well. My oldest is fair like my husband and my youngest seems to tan like me. Funny how I don’t worry about sunscreen as much on the one that tans. And then I am starting to hear rumblings that sunscreen isn’t so great for them either – even the good kind! We can’t win ladies.

  4. I just want you to know you DO NOT have to spend $40 on sunscreen to get some that’s rated better as far as toxicity. Check out this list of sunscreens – http://www.ewg.org/2014sunscreen/. I bought a coppertone one for like $7 at Target and it’s on this list so I feel much better about it. 🙂

    1. Awesome! Thank you, Michelle! I walked around the store that day checking the ratings on a bunch of different lotions! The whole process felt overwhelming!

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