Along with my posts about the time I was growing up in the 1950’s and 60’s I thought I would begin to weave in occasional post about things we didn’t know. After all, what you don’t know can hurt you. And some of these things definitely did.
All of my friends were Caucasian, and we all understood that we were to spend the summer getting very very tan. The way to achieve this was to spend long hours lying outside, preferable next to a swimming pool, soaking up the rays. My friends all championed the liberal application of baby oil to speed up the process.
What saved me from the cancer effects of this lengthy unprotected sun exposure was my restlessness. I couldn’t take the boredom of lying there. Soaking up sun didn’t seem very interesting. Instead, I spent a lot of time actually swimming and riding my bicycle. No one ever thought of, mentioned or used sunscreen. After all, the point was to get total sun exposure.
At 71, I have brown spots on the tops of my cheeks. These were the places that got the most exposure to the sun when I was riding my bike. My generation is plagued with all kinds of skin damage from those years. Some women have skin that resembles some kind of reptile, although they also smoked. Smoking will be a later post.
Now as we watch our children slather our grandchildren with sunscreen, cloth them in sun shielding garments and caution them to avoid too much sun, I realize how much times have changed. Maybe future dermatologists won’t be as busy as those today. Right now any young dermatologist has more work than she can handle. Thanks to what we didn’t know.