Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Suntanning..pastime of the dinosaurs

I have never worn sunscreen. My cycling friends do. They slather it on, greasing themselves like ducks before going into the oven. I believe that putting chemicals on the largest organ of your body and then cooking it, is a recipe for disaster. A few days ago, I had my FIRST sunburn. Nothing serious, a little peeling on the arm but since I am going on a six day bike tour, I decided to purchase sunscreen. I opted for Zinc oxide as the likelihood of that being absorbed by my skin is next to none.

I went to Bushtakah today to pick up sunscreen and other products for my bike tour next week. At Bushtakah I was greeted by a salesclerk of my vintage who shares my philosophy of sunscreen. We explained it to a young salesgirl in her 20's. She looked at us as if we were dinosaurs. In her generation, once the baby comes out of the womb it is slathered and greased with thick white SPF 200 solution. Kids of her generation never questioned sunscreen, it just came with the territory. Want to step outside? Wait wait get the sunscreen. Don't forget your ears! Diaper bags have special pockets so parents can carry sunscreen!

Most of these young folks never know what it means to have a sunburn. She winced as we told her of putting tinfoil around our faces to tan, and using baby oil. I must confess, while I did not use baby oil, my solution was Dark Tropic Tan.. spf 2. I wore that when I was sailing in the Caribbean and to my surprise my feet got sunburned.

The young salesgirl no doubt has heard that "Sun is bad" all her life and is indoctrinated. I on the other hand, live in Canada where for 10 months of the year (or so it seems) we are encased in snow and ice. When the sun and the warmth do appear I relish it like a pagan Druid, rejoicing in the heat and almost worshiping the sun. If the sun gets too strong, I will put on a long sleeve shirt or get in the shade. I got burned a little because I am a cyclist and hence exposed to the elements.

I used dark tanning oil as a teenager and so did all of my friends. I have never had a skin problem. I suspect that if I had slathered on SPF 100 and covered my pores with thick, white glue as parents do to their children nowadays, it may have been a different story.

Blame it on the thinning ozone layer caused by most people insisting on private gas powered transportation (aka a car), but my sunburn has caused me to actually buy sunscreen, albeit organic and a modest SPF 15!

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