Last summer, I had learned a very important lesson: wear sunblock. I was just like anyone else, I hated the feel on the lotion on my skin. One date to the beach completely changed how I treat my skin and will have to for the rest of my life.
It had started out as a normal, sunny day. I had every intention of it being fun. My date and I laid in the sun, occasionally going in the ocean water. After a few hours, I noticed how red my skin had become. I was in pain but I did not want to say anything. That night I went home and slept for a while. The next day I could not move I was in so much pain. To give context, my heritage is mostly French-Canadian as well as Irish and Swedish. My skin is not meant to be in the sun for extended periods of time. When I had looked at myself, I was shocked. My skin was bright red and throbbed. I had a hard time understanding why it was so bad because I had used spray-on sunblock repeatedly. Once I started to get concerned, my mom and I drove to the CVS Minute Clinic. I immediately knew how bad my burns were when the doctor’s jaw dropped when he saw my skin. He did not even know how to approach it and called a dermatologist he knew. About ninety-percent of my body was covered in burns. After a closer examination, he realized that I also had a bad skin infection that had to be treated right away. I was given an antibiotic and it was suggested that I admit myself to a hospital, because I had second and third degree burns. He explained that because I was so pale, the oily consistency of the sun block had essentially fried my skin.
I ended up not going to the hospital, mainly because I knew it would cost a lot of money. For three weeks I was in agonizing pain. I was not prescribed any painkillers, the doctor said the type I needed was a morphine drip which was only available at the hospital. Each night I took freezing cold baths and washed my hair in a sink. Then, I would lightly scrub the dead skin and apply a mixture of lotion and aloe vera gel. The lotion kept my skin moisturized while it was peeling. It was a rough month. I had to stay completely covered, especially on hot days.
Now it is almost a year later. I still have scars and patches of oddly colored skin. The texture of the skin on my arms changed, soon covered with tiny freckles. Each month I check for new spots. Because of the intense burns, I am prone to developing skin cancer. I always have sunblock on me when I know I am going to be exposed. My experience made me insecure about my body, and sometimes I still feel that way when I undress. Learn from my mistakes and always use sunblock. A few hours of a sticky feeling on your skin is worth it.