I am sitting here in this room right now, lights just streaming through the windows, and I’m not wearing a bit of suntan lotion. I’m probably not going to put any on when I go out later today, either despite the fact that living in New York means that you tend to do a lot if walking. I also live on the planet earth, which is a planet where the sun’s rays are always trying to fry your body, so there’s that.
It’s not a matter of vanity. I actually think my skin looks better when it’s a little bit paler, and also, I think it makes vampires more likely to pick me to make immortal, because I assume that’s how vampires work. I do like it when it gets a little flush of color, but I do not, say, hang out on beaches using one of those tinfoil reflector things to try to turn my skin a shade of creme caramel.
It wouldn’t even work. My skin would just go kind of pink, like a lobster.
If I am going to the beach and planning to hang out there all day, I do put on sunscreen. I mean, I do it because otherwise my skin would fry to a crisp and become comically painful. But I’m also aware that you really should be slathering suntan lotion on yourself every single time you go out anyplace. Unless you are a mole person who lives entirely below ground.
I, in fact, grew up on the lyrics of Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen, so I am fully aware that wearing sunscreen is probably the most important thing you can do as a Millennial. It’s right up there with “not smoking” under “things one should really not do.” Here. Listen. Listen to this lyrical masterpiece:
So why do I never actually do it on a daily basis?
For one thing, I think 90% of my reluctance to wear sunscreen has to do with the fact that I have super sensitive skin. Most times I put on suntan lotion, I end up with weird pimples all over my face, just because, it does something weird to my pores. I don’t know what exactly. I bet a scientist would know.
And the sunscreen smell is also pretty awful, right? Maybe this is just again because I also hate the smell of most perfumes, but there’s something partiuclarly artificial about the smell of sunscreen. It’s not really like perfumes, where you figure that once and a while you might luck into one that actually smells like the flower it is supposed to represent as opposed to smelling like a terrifyingly sacchrine cupcake. Sunscreen lotions just have that smell that doesn’t even seem to be attempting to imitate anything that even roughly exists in the real world.
And, while I do love my skin being pale, I feel like I have, more than once, come up against someone who had applied sunscreen in such a way that they looked like a mime. And when I say “someone” I mean, “that person was me.” I seem incapable of using the recommended amount of sunscreen on my face without slathering it on in such a way that I end up looking like I am imitating a ghost.
So, for me, wearing sunscreen means spending that day smelling weird, looking ghostly (I swear, the recommended amount is more than actual normal human beings ever need to use, unless they are Casper) and, when I wash my face off at night, finding that my face is covered in pimples.
It also takes forever to get on. Sometimes it takes two separate people just to get it on effectively. Does that not seem just a tiny bit unduly complicated? I mean, look, to be fair, I’m also annoyed at how long it takes to shower, but I hate having to take extra time in the morning to slather sunscreen all over my body, especially because, while I am outside, I am not lying around outside half naked.
None of which, of course, negates that fact that not wearing sunscreen is extremely dangerous. But when I walk down the streets, I actually wonder if everyone else is really adhering to it that religiously. It doesn’t strike you as a hassle when you’re already late going places in the summer mornings? Do you wear it in the middle of winter, as well? Are you and your significant other slathering sunscreen on one another’s backs in the mid-morning before you set off work? Tell me your ways, sunscreen wearers.
Also, if you can recommend a brand that would eliminate the issues I have with it stinking and taking forever to apply, that would be great, too.
Picture via Getty