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sbgrace

advice/perspective welcomed (teen stuff)

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I'm not sure how to title this, nor am I sure what I'm hoping for from replies. BUT....

My father has been diagnosed with melanoma. He's lost parts of his face. He'll probably have more, as it's the way things work it has seemed. 

 My kids have relatively fair skin. 

Now that they are teens, they of course do lots of things away from me. When they are going to be doing something involving sun exposure. I send sunscreen. I emphasize the family history and importance of applying and reapplying. They rarely to never follow through. We've had sunburns. It bothers me. 

This summer they will be away from me for weeks at a time-including whole days of Water Parks and similar.

I guess I can't do more than suggest. Any advice or perspective? 

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Just pack it in their bags and one reminder before they go. After the first really good sunburn without mom there( some just have to learn this as no matter how much you tell them), they will remember what mom said.  

If they are going to be a buggy area, badger makes an excellent sunscreen/bug repellent.  If that might encourage them to use it.

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I had melanoma, not knowing in youth what I know now.

and just got another mole biopsies yesterday

plus have very ugly patches on face that are sun damage though not melanoma.  Yuck.  

 I ‘d start making a daily morning routine of applying sunscreen to face especially, hands , arms too if possible.

Even having had melanoma and wanting to change, it is hard  to establish a new habit.  

“Talk” doesn’t help.  

A morning alarm reminder and then when alarm goes off whole family applies sunscreen day after day, might.   A plan of hat and sun protection shirt every single time you all go outside, or in car, might help.  Just like not starting engine without seatbelts fastened.  

Areas that will be exposed most likely.  And slipping on a hat.

I’d outfit them for their summer adventures with sun protection clothing, rather than regular swim suits and shorts if possible. And hats.  Hard for teens, especially boys.  

Look for really cool looking hats with broad brims—perhaps outback style for boys, whatever’s attractive for girls.

 

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UV skin damage can happen even without visible burns, btw, and through glass and t-shirts, So you may as well start a program of daily protection rather than concentrate on the summer events.

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I have no advice. My one extremely fair skinned child is very conscious of her skin and uses sun screen regularly. The other child, not as fair at all, is not as diligent. She just started a job outside, and the supervisor reminded them to always wear sunscreen/wear a hat/etc. So now she is listening. 3 years later. 

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3 minutes ago, Jean in Newcastle said:

This won't help for the face but could they wear rash guards to minimize exposed areas? 

Along these lines, a lot of teen friendly brands now make UPF clothing that don't look like swimwear--Athleta and Title 9 are my faves and have lots of options for  teen/young woman. Columbia makes some me for boys, and I'm sure there are others. 

As for sunscreen use...sprays are easy and less messy than lotions, and sunblock sticks are easy to throw in a bag and use discreetly. Maybe just ask them what they are *most realistically* going to use. 

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I will commiserate with you. My kids have always been good about hats, as they are a long-established habit. Sunglasses, too. Sunscreen is still mostly an applied by mom thing, because in reality it is a summer-only thing. However, after a very guilt inducing burn on our winter vacation, DS14 packed his new UV blocking shirt for his Easter trip to an indoor water park. So there is hope. We’ll see if the lesson sticks at the 3-week camp this summer....

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Mine hate sunscreen (feel and smell) so finding the "just right" brand has helped a lot. Also, the powder-in-brush kinds have been handy for reapplication. 

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I would also send sun-block shirts to wear over bathing suits.

there is a point, they have to live with their choice.  2ds has "redhead" skin.  I sent spf 50+ sunblock with him, and emphasized to the adults he was with - he must wear this.  he came back and his skin was very burned. (apparently no one cared his bottle of sunblock fell in the lake.) I just closed my eyes- and hoped the pain would drive home the lesson.  he's in his mid 20's, and has had a mole on his back removed and sent to pathology to test for skin cancer.  his back is now covered with moles and nevi - I figure encouraged by the damage from that burn.

dh has had a number of precancerous lesions on the surface, so those are just frozen off.

both go in yearly to a dermatologist to be "inspected".  that might have more of an impact than mom nagging about something about which they don't want to bother.

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20 minutes ago, gardenmom5 said:

both go in yearly to a dermatologist to be "inspected".  that might have more of an impact than mom nagging about something about which they don't want to bother

 

This is a good point and would make sense following a melanoma in family.

 

——

this sort of thing or equivalent for girls can help:

TSLA TM-MSR11-SBK_Small Men's UPF 50+ Contrast Crew Long Sleeve Athletic Fit Rashguard MSR11 https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07C57VT6M/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_sH7WCbB5JHZR6

 

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5 hours ago, MEmama said:

Along these lines, a lot of teen friendly brands now make UPF clothing that don't look like swimwear--Athleta and Title 9 are my faves and have lots of options for  teen/young woman. Columbia makes some me for boys, and I'm sure there are others. 

As for sunscreen use...sprays are easy and less messy than lotions, and sunblock sticks are easy to throw in a bag and use discreetly. Maybe just ask them what they are *most realistically* going to use. 

Yes! Sending spray instead of lotion really did help my son apply more often. he didn't have to ask anyone to help him reach his back, etc. If I send lotion he would not use it, spray and he did. 

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12 minutes ago, Ktgrok said:

Yes! Sending spray instead of lotion really did help my son apply more often. he didn't have to ask anyone to help him reach his back, etc. If I send lotion he would not use it, spray and he did. 

My daughter always favored the spray. One of my boys was much more likely to use it if he had access to the small travel size tubes because those he could easily carry along in a pocket.

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One thing to keep in mind for high exposure stuff like water parks- if applied perfectly the SPF just multiplies the number of minutes until you burn.  I always heard the average tourist in Florida burns in 3 minutes.  If your kids are extremely fair and they're in a high UV area and there's water intensifying it, they might start to burn in less than two minutes.  So even if they apply sunblock perfectly, and reapply it every hour on the hour in the water (and they won't), they WILL burn in less than three hours of exposure.

If you really want them to stay out of the sun, buy them SPF blocking clothes they will wear.  Rash guards, hats, etc.

ETA: In other words, give them some grace.  They may have done everything perfectly and burned anyway. And if they will wear rash guards or UV blocking shirts, there's some right now at Sam's Club for less than $12, or you can get cheap ones on Amazon, most outdoor shops, and pricier designer versions online.

Edited by Katy
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Would they be more open to wearing a T-shirt and hat?  And yes to the sunscreen spray...  That makes it so much easier.

Other than that, get them in the habit of being checked regularly at the doctor's.

Despite what you may think, they're already at a huge advantage because they are growing up in a day and age that understand this.  They may not understand it now, but they'll understand it a lot earlier than your father ever did, and will be on the lookout.

 

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https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20818090,00.html

good explanation of why to make sun protection something you do every day—even when not going out in the sun    Presumably fair tendency to skin sun  damage and family history affects you as well as dc.  You may want to review to see if you are modeling a good approach.  

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13 minutes ago, J-rap said:

Would they be more open to wearing a T-shirt and hat?

 

 

Caution:

Ordinary T-shirts are only upf 5  — more or less.  

 

They can stop burning, but not cancer promoting solar radiation .

they need to be made of sun protection fabric to stop the damaging rays   Or impregnated with sunscreen chemicals, but I prefer the type that has protection via fabric rather than chemicals 

 

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https://www.rei.com/learn/expert-advice/sun-protection.html

 

Caution:

Ordinary T-shirts are only upf 5  — more or less.  

 

They can stop burning, but not cancer promoting solar radiation .

they need to be made of sun protection fabric to stop the damaging rays   Or impregnated with sunscreen chemicals, but I prefer the type that has protection via fabric rather than chemicals 

 

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14 hours ago, sbgrace said:

Now that they are teens, they of course do lots of things away from me. When they are going to be doing something involving sun exposure. I send sunscreen. I emphasize the family history and importance of applying and reapplying. They rarely to never follow through. We've had sunburns. It bothers me

What are they saying in these conversations?  Do they forget? Do they think you’re being silly? Do they just not want to? Are they not the type to carry a bag (to hold sunscreen)?  Wherever the disconnect is is the place to work from. There’s a big difference between thinking Mom is crazy and just needing a cool drawstring bag or something.

My kids have grown up being slathered and covered, so they’re used to it. My younger boys swim *indoors* with swim shirts, lol, because it’s just part of the swimsuit to them!  But burns still happen sometimes, even on my watch.  Even on my own body.  

Work on whatever the resistance is, but I feel it’s also unrealistic to expect perfection.

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Insist everybody cover up with sunscreen before leaving the house. That stuff needs to soak in anyway, and then they're at least protected part of the day. Also, send them with hats - they may be more amenable to wearing baseball caps and sunglasses than remembering to put more sunscreen on.

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There are a lot of cute protective swimwear options available. The surfwear companies are selling more of these now, too. Billabong, Hurley, etc. I’ve worn full rash guards and swim pants for years so that I can swim at high noon.

Do they understand how melanoma can spread to internal organs? I think many younger people don’t realize this. They might think it only affects skin.

I’d also suggest getting William Li’s book Eat to Beat. It’s about antiangiogenesis, how foods can cut off blood supply to cancer. Fantastic resource. You can also find him online. I think he did a Ted Talk.

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I agree with taking precautions and all, but you are fighting a very natural tendency for teens to think they are impervious to things like cancer and dangerous outcomes of risky behavior. And you can't control everything. It's good to make peace with the idea that you can't protect them always and that you do what you can, hope for the best and then let go. 

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11 hours ago, maize said:

A different perspective to consider, sun exposure as a net negative for health may not be all cut and dried:

https://www.outsideonline.com/2380751/sunscreen-sun-exposure-skin-cancer-science

 

 

The dc being asked about are presumably in a high risk group for melanoma due to family history of it, plus fair skin,  plus,  it seems,  intermittent high level sun exposure resulting in burns. 

people in such a group may still choose to have some deliberate careful exposure to sun for its health providing reasons

ETA: However, they are in a risk group who almost certainly should be using high levels of sun protection.  It is different to be in a 3% or so risk group for melanoma as part of general white population, versus perhaps a 20% risk group for it.

ETA: Also when I was looking at what to do, I looked at Australian statistics.  It did not appear to be the case that the Australian effort to increase awareness of sun dangers and to increase use of hats, protective clothing, and or sunscreen resulted in a general increase in morbidity or higher death rates—though it will be some time yet before the children of the slip slap slip era reach ages to see if there’s a big drop in average age of death

 

 

The suggestions that I gave in regard of the OP in this thread are based on my own experience with fair skin, and what I would do with fair skinned children 

 

my Ds17 has dark skin (and melanoma risk thus probably under 1%) and I have not had him use sunscreen nor rash guard and long bottom swim suits.  He does wear sunglasses sometimes and hat sometimes. He also does close to what people would probably have done long ago which is to start going out in just shorts as soon as the weather is warm enough so he builds up a gradual exposure to sun, rather than getting sudden intense (and lengthy) exposure at summer events.

 

ETA If the op indicated worry about sun protection in the absence of risk factors I would have had a different view

and for people who may be reading the thread who have dark pigmentation (or skin that tans easily), no family history of skin cancer, and who get a consistent sun exposure rather than intermittent blasts — the perspective of considering net health benefit from sun is worthwhile, imo

 

Edited by Pen

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14 hours ago, gardenmom5 said:

 

there is a point, they have to live with their choice.  

both go in yearly to a dermatologist to be "inspected".  that might have more of an impact than mom nagging about something about which they don't want to bother.

Yes, they will have to live with their choice, whatever that may be.

I would second the dermatologist idea. It’s a good habit to get in to.

I am not an expert on melanoma, but I did have one removed. It was from a place that has never been sunburned - the inside of my right ankle. I was fortunate and the margins were clear. I have an excellent dermatologist and she made a huge incision but now you can hardly even see the scar. That was almost 9 years ago. I’ve had a few precancerous moles removed, but no more melanomas. My dermatologist said most of the time women get melanoma on their legs and men on their back. 

IMO, besides taking care of you if skin and avoiding the sun as much as possible, I think seeing a good dermatologist in a regular basis is the best thing you can do, catching those things early is the key.

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21 minutes ago, KrissiK said:

Yes, they will have to live with their choice, whatever that may be.

I would second the dermatologist idea. It’s a good habit to get in to.

I am not an expert on melanoma, but I did have one removed. It was from a place that has never been sunburned - the inside of my right ankle. I was fortunate and the margins were clear. I have an excellent dermatologist and she made a huge incision but now you can hardly even see the scar. That was almost 9 years ago. I’ve had a few precancerous moles removed, but no more melanomas. My dermatologist said most of the time women get melanoma on their legs and men on their back. 

IMO, besides taking care of you if skin and avoiding the sun as much as possible, I think seeing a good dermatologist in a regular basis is the best thing you can do, catching those things early is the key.

that's where 2ds had his mole removed and sent to pathology.  his back is covered.  he was born with a nevi on his leg which has thickened and expanded over time. (his ped sent him to a dermatologist to have it checked when he was five), and has a few on his scalp. (his back is covered.)

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33 minutes ago, KrissiK said:

I am not an expert on melanoma, but I did have one removed. It was from a place that has never been sunburned - the inside of my right ankle. I was fortunate and the margins were clear. I have an excellent dermatologist and she made a huge incision but now you can hardly even see the scar. That was almost 9 years ago. I’ve had a few precancerous moles removed, but no more melanomas. My dermatologist said most of the time women get melanoma on their legs and men on their back. 

 

Yes.  I have heard similar and likewise had a leg melanoma.  (Other types of radiation may also be implicated, such as someone at Karolinska institute thinks radio waves may be, and somehow relate to legs.)

However, my friend who died of melanoma had it start on her back.  

 

 

 

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We use UPF clothing as much as possible. Unfortunately, my DS has had two very, very bad sunburns which have made a big impression on him, so he will use sunscreen and protection clothing, but often forgets to reapply. Also, my dad has lost the tops of both ears to skin cancer which is a good visual reminder,

we did have many “fights” when he was younger where he was not allowed to leave the house or hotel room if he would not agree to sunscreen. 

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18 minutes ago, City Mouse said:

We use UPF clothing as much as possible. Unfortunately, my DS has had two very, very bad sunburns which have made a big impression on him, so he will use sunscreen and protection clothing, but often forgets to reapply. Also, my dad has lost the tops of both ears to skin cancer which is a good visual reminder,

we did have many “fights” when he was younger where he was not allowed to leave the house or hotel room if he would not agree to sunscreen. 

 

 

It’s good to remember ears, parts in hair, and so forth.  

ETA some of my solar skin damage is just beyond hairline where I would not have applied sunscreen, for example. Some on areas that would have been t-shirt covered, not knowing T-shirt didn’t protect against damage, just burn

 

If one has skin cancer prone skin, even if deliberately wanting some sun for vitamin Dcand other benefits, it can be good to think about where to expose skin.  If surgery is needed for melanoma some places are less bad than others.  Also some areas have thicker skin and farther from core organs, so farther to go before a melanoma is a higher stage.  Ears, feet, faces, fingers, lips all are problems with relatively little spare skin.  Back is closer to vital organs than a calf and many parts don’t have thick skin

Edited by Pen

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My PSA on those spray sunscreens-  please remind your kids to look around when they spray and to move away from people when spraying.  Nothing like getting an unwanted blast in the face from irresponsible spraying.  Those burn like the dickens in the eyes.  

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I wonder if it would make more sense to your teens if you showed them pictures about what sun damage does over time and what they'll look like at 50 if they take care of their skin, vs. if they don't.  Melanoma can be pretty abstract at that age (my mom has had it since I was 10, she's got like 20 scars now all over where they keep removing tumors).

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We try to go for clothing options as much as possible.  Long sleeved rash vests.  Light long sleeved shirts and sun hats for outdoor work.  The less you have to sunscreen the less hassle it is.  Also there’s new guidelines about how much sunscreen to use etc.  a tube should last through 7 sun screenings.  Which means for our family of five uses a tube up in an outing in which we reapply unless we really cover up with clothes mostly.  Gets expensive.  Also it needs to be stored at below 30 degrees.  So if you left it in the hot car or took it out on an average Aussie summer day without a chiller bag it’s probably already compromised.

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7 hours ago, Pen said:

 

 

The dc being asked about are presumably in a high risk group for melanoma due to family history of it, plus fair skin,  plus,  it seems,  intermittent high level sun exposure resulting in burns. 

people in such a group may still choose to have some deliberate careful exposure to sun for its health providing reasons

ETA: However, they are in a risk group who almost certainly should be using high levels of sun protection.  It is different to be in a 3% or so risk group for melanoma as part of general white population, versus perhaps a 20% risk group for it.

ETA: Also when I was looking at what to do, I looked at Australian statistics.  It did not appear to be the case that the Australian effort to increase awareness of sun dangers and to increase use of hats, protective clothing, and or sunscreen resulted in a general increase in morbidity or higher death rates—though it will be some time yet before the children of the slip slap slip era reach ages to see if there’s a big drop in average age of death

 

 

The suggestions that I gave in regard of the OP in this thread are based on my own experience with fair skin, and what I would do with fair skinned children 

 

my Ds17 has dark skin (and melanoma risk thus probably under 1%) and I have not had him use sunscreen nor rash guard and long bottom swim suits.  He does wear sunglasses sometimes and hat sometimes. He also does close to what people would probably have done long ago which is to start going out in just shorts as soon as the weather is warm enough so he builds up a gradual exposure to sun, rather than getting sudden intense (and lengthy) exposure at summer events.

 

ETA If the op indicated worry about sun protection in the absence of risk factors I would have had a different view

and for people who may be reading the thread who have dark pigmentation (or skin that tans easily), no family history of skin cancer, and who get a consistent sun exposure rather than intermittent blasts — the perspective of considering net health benefit from sun is worthwhile, imo

 

We are the slip slap slop generation and we’re only in our late 30s.  Most melanoma won’t start showing up till later in life.

also it will be hard to separate out what effect is due to the ozone layer changes as I believe the hole is being somewhat repaired.

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1 hour ago, Ausmumof3 said:

We are the slip slap slop generation and we’re only in our late 30s.  Most melanoma won’t start showing up till later in life.

also it will be hard to separate out what effect is due to the ozone layer changes as I believe the hole is being somewhat repaired.

 

I was focusing more on opposite— that Australians don’t seem to have had sudden massive negative health result from sun avoidance strategies as compared to similar populations.  To extent I could determine that.  The article that Maize posted suggests that illness of all sorts would spike from slip slap slop

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To piggy back on this, does anyone have a suggestion of a good facial sunscreen for a teen girl who breaks out easily? DD is pretty good at putting on sunscreen for likely to burn situations (Florida, high desert, water parks, etc), but has discovered that the kinds she has used in the past now seem to really aggravate her already acne-prone skin. She does not typically wear makeup (pretty much only when she’s in cheer uniform). 

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24 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

To piggy back on this, does anyone have a suggestion of a good facial sunscreen for a teen girl who breaks out easily? DD is pretty good at putting on sunscreen for likely to burn situations (Florida, high desert, water parks, etc), but has discovered that the kinds she has used in the past now seem to really aggravate her already acne-prone skin. She does not typically wear makeup (pretty much only when she’s in cheer uniform). 

CreaVe daily 30 doesn't make my teen sons acne worse. 

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1 hour ago, dmmetler said:

To piggy back on this, does anyone have a suggestion of a good facial sunscreen for a teen girl who breaks out easily? DD is pretty good at putting on sunscreen for likely to burn situations (Florida, high desert, water parks, etc), but has discovered that the kinds she has used in the past now seem to really aggravate her already acne-prone skin. She does not typically wear makeup (pretty much only when she’s in cheer uniform). 

 

Do you know if it is particular ingredients?

I like Badger (or maybe Thinkbaby) zinc oxide based sunscreens—“non comedogenic” and excellent ratings from EWP.  But if she specifically reacts to zinc that would not be a good choice 

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My understanding (and this could be incorrect, but I know I've read this in the past) is that those big burn events raise your chances of cancer a lot each time. My parents' generation had those burns OFTEN in their youths - from childhood on up. I think I had them several times as a kid, but by the time I was a teen, it was sunscreen and covers and I haven't had that many since. My kids have only ever burned in small patches where sunscreen was forgotten or worn off, and it was never the way it was when I got some bad burns as a kid - giant peeling skin sort of burns.

Basically, I just think... our attitudes have changed. Their risks are likely different from your father. Which is not to say that you shouldn't be concerned and there's tons of good advice and perspective in this thread. I just think... it's something I worry about less for my kids because even when we slip up, we already do more than in the past.

Edited by Farrar

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I would buy them suits with as much coverage as you can get away with (given fashion-conscious teens) and then just hope for the best.

See of they have some products that you could "sell" as being for beauty or comfort.  For example, I have a face moisturizer that has sunscreen in it.  I use it as a moisturizer, not a sunscreen, but I am sure it helps.  🙂

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On 4/28/2019 at 12:23 PM, dmmetler said:

To piggy back on this, does anyone have a suggestion of a good facial sunscreen for a teen girl who breaks out easily? DD is pretty good at putting on sunscreen for likely to burn situations (Florida, high desert, water parks, etc), but has discovered that the kinds she has used in the past now seem to really aggravate her already acne-prone skin. She does not typically wear makeup (pretty much only when she’s in cheer uniform). 

Might want to try Aveeno's moisturizer with sunscreen.

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23 hours ago, Pen said:

Badger

 

 

I tried Thinkbaby on my face yesterday.  Not good. Stung.  (Though seemed okay for my hands, arms feet).  So Badger usually the lotion form remains my sunscreen of choice. 

Also, how about a great broad brim hat and sunglasses. 

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