Friday, September 20, 2013

Dear Bruce Jenner, basal cell carcinoma is not melanoma

Bruce Jenner after surgery. E! News.
Bruce Jenner--a guy who gave the keynote speech at a tanning industry conference last year--has been diagnosed and treated for skin cancer. Unfortunately, he's also been spreading misinformation that belittles the dangers of melanoma.

In an E! News article, Jenner is quoted saying: "I was diagnosed with a form of Melanoma called Basal cell carcinoma and have undergone Mohs surgery to remove it."

Basal cell carcinoma is the most common form of skin cancer, with approximately 2.8 million cases diagnosed per year. Basal cell carcinoma is classified as a non-melanoma skin cancer. Although it can be pretty disfiguring, it's hardly ever life threatening.

Melanoma, in contrast, is much less common, but it's much more dangerous. Many melanomas cannot be treated with Mohs surgery. They require more extensive surgeries, and patients often require lymph node removal and other treatments if the cancer has spread beyond the initial tumor. In 2013, it's estimated that nearly 10,000 people will die from melanoma.

Last week, I had a really fantastic phone conversation with Mary Tripp, Ph.D., M.P.H., a researcher from MD Anderson Cancer Center who is leading a new melanoma prevention initiative. In her opinion, one of the reasons why people downplay the dangers of tanning beds is that they mistake melanoma for other skin cancers.

"A lot of people will know friends and family with squamous and basal cell carcinomas, which are not as dangerous," she said. "But melanoma is a major cancer."

I think that statements like the one made by Bruce Jenner help perpetuate the misconceptions that skin cancer isn't a big deal and that tanning beds aren't something we need to be worried about. I hope that Mr. Jenner gets better soon, but that he learns more about the different types of skin cancer, and that he actually does try to take better care of his skin.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let's play dress up

On our way to 80s night.

I've decided that I kind of love being 27. I love that I'm old enough to have my own place, to have a steady income, and to feel like a responsible "grown up" half of the time, but that I'm not too old to get dressed up and make a fool of myself every once in a while. (Like wearing a floral leotard to an 80s dance cruise on Saturday. Which, by the way, I found a HUGE rack of at Forever 21. Please tell me these aren't making a comeback.) Most people still mistake me for a 23-year-old, but I'm starting to be OK with that, too. I credit genetics (thanks, mom) and my daily SPF.

Desperately in need of a shower after the Color Run.

I also recently did one of those 5k color runs, where they douse you with paint as you run through the course. It was the first organized run I've done all year, which is PITIFUL, but it's so easy to let running go by the wayside when I'm busy with other things. My goal is to continue running into the winter. This is always a huge challenge for me because it becomes nearly impossible to run outside once when it gets dark by the time I'm off work. It also rains a lot in Portland, and even the gym is about a half mile walk from my apartment. Excuses-- I know. If you have any advice on how to stay motivated during cold and rainy months, please send it my way.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sunscreen reviews: L'Oreal Sublime Sun Oil Spray SPF 50 and Advanced Sunscreen Lotion

The last time I used a suntan oil, I was about 17 year old, laying out in my parents' yard, using some "dark tanning oil" with SPF 4. When L'Oreal introduced a new sunscreen oil earlier this year with SPF 50, I was somewhat of a skeptic. Wouldn't oil magnify the effects of the sun, not block out harmful rays? Product junkie that I am, I was also a little intrigued. Last week, I was stocking up on sunscreen for my Labor Day Napa trip and I noticed that all L'Oreal sunscreens were 50 percent off. So I bought a couple to test. Here's the lowdown:

L'Oreal Sublime Sun Sunscreen Oil Spray SPF 50
If you're not a fan of thick, white sunscreen - you've got to try this. Blended with vitamin E, argan and other oils, it doesn't look, feel, or smell like a traditional sunscreen. Using the spray bottle, you can spritz onto skin and blend all over easily. One downside is that the bottle says it's not greasy, but that's kind of a lie. If you've used a body oil before, that's basically what this stuff feels like. Unless you apply extremely sparingly, it doesn't absorb totally. Perk: It gave my chest and shoulders a really pretty glow. Caveat: When I put my legs up on a leather chair and it left a huge grease mark. Whoops!
Rating: 3/5. I would never give up my normal sunscreens and use this exclusively, but it was fun to try something new. I think this would be nice to have when lounging by the pool. It makes sunscreen application feel more "sexy," and less of a chore, but it's a little greasy for everyday use.

L'Oreal Sublime Sun Advanced Sunscreen Lotion SPF 50
There's not much about this formula that distinguishes it from so many other drugstore-brand sunscreens, other than the fact that it's made with antioxidants, which are super important for repairing damaged skin cells. It applies super easily and the scent isn't offensive like some, but if I'm using a lotion, I think I'd rather use one that has a physical (not chemical) sunscreen in it like zinc oxide.
Rating: 3/5. Didn't love it, but I didn't hate it either. In the future, I'd probably buy Supergoop's Antioxidant-Infused SPF 40, which uses zinc oxide as it's active ingredient.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Labor Day in Napa Valley

Here are a few photos from my Labor Day trip to Napa with Tim and his family. I tried some new sunscreen while I was there, so I'll be sharing a review of that soon.

Special thanks to Instagram for making me feel like an artist. Well, sort of.

Sending love to all students and teachers who are heading back to school this week, including my mom! :)

View from our deck at sunset.

Barrels at Sterling Winery in Calistoga.


The most amazing wine and cheese pairing ever at Brown Estates.