Daily Archives: July 1, 2011

Dear Sixteen Year Old Me

Earlier this year I had a skin cancer removed.

It was basal cell carcinoma, which is highly treatable when caught early like mine was.

I’m okay. Honest. I’m very glad we caught it fairly early and that it wasn’t melanoma. This diagnosis just means I get to spend more time with my favorite dermatologist on a very regular basis. And I’m becoming somewhat of an expert on sunscreen and self tanners.

Still it was cancer, and like cancer always does, it left scars.

The scar it left on the outside isn’t that noticeable and I can cover it with clothes.

The scar on the inside goes much deeper and is connected to the twisted history I have with this disease. Maybe I’ll write about all of that another time, but today I wanted to use my scar as an opportunity to provide a public service announcement of sorts.

I wish I had a chance to sit down with sixteen-year-old me and tell her that someone who could use Liquid Paper  as a concealer has no business ever sticking her body in a tanning coffin bed. She needs to know that one day she will honestly believe that pale is the new tan and that there’s not enough moisturizer in the world to undo the damage she’s doing to her future forty-plus-year-old face.

This video has been making the Facebook rounds lately. Maybe you have plans to be in the sun this holiday weekend. I’d like to post this video to remind you that “a healthy glow” isn’t healthy and isn’t worth it. And as a reminder to make sure your babies have on plenty of sunscreen. (Have you seen the FDA’s new guidance on sunscreen?)  Please pass this video on to any sixteen-year-olds you know:

While we’re talking, I would also tell her the layered perm haircut is going to be a major mistake.

And she really needs to stop cruising by Doug Tillman’s house because that is just never going to happen and honestly, she’ll be glad it didn’t.

And it really is okay to be sweet sixteen and never been kissed. Honest. The kisses from the right guy will be well worth the wait.

Yep. I have a lot of wisdom I could share with her if she’d be willing to listen.

What would you tell sixteen-year-old you?

 

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