“What We Didn’t Know 1”

babyoil

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.

20 thoughts on ““What We Didn’t Know 1”

  1. I got sunburn too easily, with my red hair and fair skin, so I also was spared the majority of it, although everybody else used Johnson’s Baby Oil or the off-brands. We sometimes used Coppertone sunscreen, feeble though it was, and usually AFTER the annual sunburn. I still recall the aroma of it, which I loved.

    The sunbathers also often put lemon juice in their hair to lighten it.

  2. So true! That’s the only time I ever used baby oil and I will always identify that fragrance with the lazy summer days of youth. Unfortunately I am fair and always seemed to burn instead of tan and I too got bored with sunbathing.

  3. I thought it should be “what you don’t know can’t hurt you” πŸ™‚ Blame that on our thinning ozone layer so when the sun is so hot, it destroys our skin.

  4. You wonder if 50 years from now we will be telling children not to wear sunscreen but to get more sun. it seems whatever you do, the opposite is what was “right”.

  5. My friends did the same here in Australia, my mother was very conscious of our sun exposure though, after we got seriously sunburnt one Christmas holidays.
    My sister & I were both red heads, me with pale skin & freckles hers more olive skin with freckles.
    From that time we both wore zinc protection on our noses, hats & had to watch our time in the sun! :-O
    Jennifer

  6. Tell me about it. It seems as though the more we are aware of certain things the more chances we have of being affected.

    Have you received you book yet? I sent it off while I was in holiday in Nigeria.

  7. Despite people now knowing about sun damage and the cancer risk of lying the sun, people still do it all the time. When I go to Cape Town, all the European visitors are lying in the sun on the beach or around the pool all day and there is a hole in the ozone layer over Cape Town. People just don’t learn.

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