Four years ago, I moved job locations and into a new job role. My new position meant spending lots of time outdoors in the hot blazing sun. Not surprisingly, I have gotten progressively darker over time.
I did not realize how bad it was until I resumed wearing make-up this year (after a 5 year hiatus) and had to get powder/foundation that matched my skin color. In the past, I only wore a sheer pressed powder but this year I wanted to get creme foundation. I’ve done a comparison below.
I know, right? Unbelievable.
Evidence number 2 of how much my complexion has changed is my older sister.
When we were kids, I was much lighter-complexioned than she was. She caught up a little when we were growing older but right now is shades lighter than I am. And no, folks, she uses no “lightening aids” – creams or pills. She does have a sedentary job that keeps her indoors plus she is so introverted these days that she spends most of her time indoors even when she is on vacation. But c’mmon! Shades lighter? I can’t even use her foundation because I am browner than she is.
Apart from being driven by vanity, I was also alarmed for my skin health. We all know that too much sun exposure is bad and may even lead to other complications, cancer included. Obviously I had had a lot of sun exposure.
So what’s a girl to do?
Well, I have started taking my sun protection very seriously. Where possible, I wear a hat and sunglasses when I go out in the sun. My floppy hat is a bargain $8 number from Walmart which I can fold and carry wherever I go. I love that I can fold it as I typically do not enter buildings wearing my hat or sunglasses. It is nice to know that I can fold the hat away and not worry about it getting out of shape.
The sunglasses not only add to my sun protection for my skin, but for my eyes as well – they keep me from squinting under the intensely bright sunshine. Suffering from myopia since childhood, I have a fair bit of lines around my eyes – a testament to all the squinting I did when I would inevitably misplace my glasses.
It is surprising that we are not a hat wearing country – I cannot imagine why – given the amount of sunshine we get here – so I have gotten a lot of questions (and flack) about wearing a hat. Ranging from “Are you on going to the Caribbean?” To plain ol’ “Why are you wearing a hat?” I expected the questions and even the derisive comments I have been getting. I had Natural hair in this country before it was cool. I know that I can manage wearing a hat even though it is not popular. Another picture of me wearing my hat and shades here.
Concerned with the state of my skin, I decide that I had to up my topical aids. So, two weeks ago I also made myself a super moisturizing facial cream that is suitable for mature skin (meadaowfoam seed oil, rose hydrosol, rose essential oil e.t.c) and added Alpha Hydroxy Acids (lactic Acid, Citric Acid e.t.c) to a batch. I use the batch with A.H.A only at night.
Although I use it at night, the AHAs increase sun sensitivity which may lead to a sun burn so it is a happy coincidence that I am using it my hat and glasses. Naturally, I also use a full spectrum UVA and UVB protection Sunscreen.
I am not expecting any miracles nor am I going to lighten my skin…naturally or otherwise. This took years to happen so I know that I am going to have to give at least twice that time for full recovery, The important thing is that I have started today.