You Do. You Do Need the Sunscreen.

7:59 PM 6 Comments A+ a-

My gnome is the only thing that will survive this season.
Tina called me while I was gardening today, or rather, while I was examining the scorched leaves of my gardenia and the fragrant pile of ash that was once a hydrangea. It’s summertime here in Los Angeles where temperatures reach that of a plasma beam, so naturally I was slathered in sunscreen. I don’t want to die looking like a human blister.

But apparently others do. Because Tina immediately launched into an impassioned, “You don’t understand, Ann. There are people. On Facebook. Debating—DEBATING—about wearing sunscreen. Some think it’s toxic. Some think it’s unnecessary. People don’t like science.”
I can't believe this is even an issue.
Okay. Fair enough. I’m not sure I like science either when it comes to bad science, or poorly conducted studies—the kind you’ll see in nutritional science where for one month pomegranates are touted as antioxidant saviors, and then the following month, they’re found to contain estrogen mimickers capable of turning the female body into one gigantic fibroid.

So I get it. There’s a lot we don’t know about sunscreen. Commercial sunblocks may be rife with skin irritants and chemicals that are difficult to metabolize. This may result in disease.

Better to let your flesh burn like a butane lantern.

Because the sun is so much worse. Omg. SO MUCH WORSE. Please tell me you all saw this article in the Huffington Post?
I didn't start wearing sunblock until I was 26 and now my face looks like this all the time.
The sun is not your friend. It’s not your bestie. At the most, the sun is like an acquaintance you’re happy enough to see at parties—good for ten minutes of casual talk, but then you need to walk away, maybe spend a quality hour or two hiding under the stairs, wondering why people assume you’re interested in hearing about their children’s food allergies.

But what about vitamin D? Sure, the sun is essential for kicking off photolysis, so that your body can manufacture vitamin D on its own, but your vitamin D level isn't necessarily the direct effect of sun exposure. This would require ignorance as to the complexity of vitamin D synthesis and metabolism, which is why so many elderly persons are lacking in vitamin D, regardless of their sun exposure—not to mention people with autoimmune disorders, renal or parathyroid dysfunction, those lacking in commensal gut bacteria, or persons who suffer from low cholesterol which, in the form of 7-dehydrocholesterol, is necessary for the synthesis of vitamin D.

On my best days, I look like an advertisement for Miralax.
And the argument: "People have been on the earth for thousands of years, having a swell time without sunscreen!" No. Do not think for a second that early man evaded melanoma, providing he even lived long enough to devastate his squamous cells. They probably did get skin cancer. You don’t know. We didn’t have CNN coverage back then, but what we do know is Hippocrates and Rufus were describing black dermal growths, consistent with melanoma, back in ancient Greece. Oh snap.

Basically, anyone who is trotting about saying, “I never wore sunscreen a day in my life, and here I am, at thirty-five, cancer FREE!” is pretty much akin to my friend, an avid chain-smoker, who is rapidly approaching ninety years of age and still brags about his lack of cancer even though he’s lived long enough to contract every other disease in the Merck Manual.

Stuff is brewing.

Like, congratulations on not having skin cancer at a relatively youthful age. Come back and talk to me when you’re seventy-five, but I'll bet my pants that right now, you already have sun-related freckling on your arms. Seriously. Look down at your forearms. Are they spotted? Showing signs of uneven pigmentation? Broken capillaries? Are there noticeable white splotches where your skin cells have basically just said, “#$% tha police” and refuse to produce melanin altogether?
I thought maybe changing the filter on my camera phone would make me more attractive, but that's really asking too much from this face.
You’re patting yourself on the back because you don’t have skin cancer yet, but in reality, your skin may be showing a high level of collagen alteration due to sun damage. This ages you. And maybe you don’t realize this because you also don’t live in an area with a high concentration of models or actresses where a simple trip to Whole Foods will find you picking apples next to an adequately-sunblocked Michelle Pfieffer who might be twice your age—but she looks twice as awesome, and she’ll throw you a sad glance before saying, “I’d refer you to my dermatologist, but you look poor.”

And you will feel bad. You will. You think you won’t, because you’re strong. You’re practical. You grew up on a farm, so you know the virtue of hard work. The callous beatings of afternoon sun. You bear the regal insignia of actinic keratosis on your cheeks. But when confronted with the buttercream complexion of Isla Fisher, who is 40, but looks like a fetus because she wears Supergoop, you won’t feel regal, YOU WILL FEEL BAD. You don’t know what it’s like to run into these people on La Cienega and have them look at you like you’re a massive melanomic boulder.


And only then will you realize that your skin is failing you, because you have failed it. But it’s too late, because the world’s biggest IPL laser can’t abolish the evils metastasizing on your dermis. You might as well drink 10 liters of toxic sunscreen and call it a life—truly a better way to die than the prostrate misery of premature aging.
Our lawn needs SPF 50000
You do. Trust me. You do need the sunscreen.


Write comments
Amy Holt
June 17, 2016 at 12:57 AM delete

I slather my pasty white children in the death cream every stinking day. They hate me!

June 17, 2016 at 7:43 AM delete

Of course you do. You were a model. You understand. And someday, when your kids have grown up to be Derek Zoolanders, they will thank you for keeping them really really ridiculously good-looking.

Josh Nagy
June 20, 2016 at 3:32 PM delete

I feel like you have failed to properly protect your poor hydrangea from the evil rays of the sun. Don't they have an SPF rating for greenery?

June 20, 2016 at 4:58 PM delete

Hydrangeas are full and partial sun usually, but the heat here is so intense, my plants look electrocuted...

June 28, 2016 at 2:39 PM delete

The people who talk about the evils of sunscreen are young and don't burn. Or they're really macho guy types. When they go about 10 years and start looking like your gnome, then they start wearing sunscreen again.

October 5, 2016 at 2:21 AM delete

Going out without sunscreen is a big NO. Iam totally with you. Sunscreen is an essential part of skin routine. There should be no doubt regarding waring suncreen. It is one of the safest methods to prevent from ill efects of the sun.