When the chilly, dreary weather passes, and the sun finally appears out from behind thick clouds, all anyone and everyone wants to do is spend time outside... but in that excitement, and the joy that comes from shedding layers and layers of clothing and finally feeling warm again, is the inevitable disregard to protect our skin with sunscreen. And, of course, the absolutely dreadful — and seemingly inevitable — burning of human skin, AKA: getting a sunburn.
Frankly, when the sun finally graces us with its presence, we forget all about its dangerous rays and scary side effects and just linger in its light unprotected. Whether we simply choose to walk to the store sans sunscreen, or spend a whole day at the beach or the pool completely ignoring the fact that our skin is burning, sunscreen is crucial to protecting the tone and complexion of our skin. Not only on our faces but our backs, shoulders, legs, and everywhere else on our bodies (and not just in the summer, but all year long). Ironically, it’s usually an afterthought, which we later get punished for with sunburn. Because as we all know, when we don’t thoroughly apply sunscreen when exposed to the sun, our whole body will be as red as a lobster, burning, and hot to the touch for days after. And I think we can all agree that that’s no fun. At all.
So whether you’re absolutely obsessed with protecting your skin from the rays, or just soak up the sun and forget about protection, here are the nine emotional stages of getting a sunburn. Because having your skin fried is never easy to deal with, so at least you can laugh a little and console yourself while you rub your burning body with aloe. It’s OK, I feel for you.
The thing about getting sunburn is that you never really expect it when you get it. This ties back into the aforementioned disregard of protection and sunscreen when making plans outdoors under the hot and blazing sun. So, while you might consider bringing a bottle of sunscreen or applying it before you go out, or if it just completely slips your mind, it’s importance pales in comparison to your summer fun plans. It’s unfortunate, but it’s true.
Every single one of us is special. We’re all unique snowflakes. But the sun has no mercy for anyone, no matter how special each of us is. So while we all convince ourselves that the sun will be nice to us and avoid burning our skin, that’s not reality. We’re too proud to take a minute to put on sunscreen, because we’re convinced we’ll be fine. But we’re not fine. We’re not fine at all.
Ignoring the sun and its power will not save you from getting burnt. Unfortunately, the sun can affect your skin no matter what time year it is, how long you’re exposed to it, and even if you’re in the shade. And your skin will soak up the protection eventually, so it’s also important to reapply. Pay attention to the sun, and protect your skin accordingly. I know: It’s definitely easier said than done.
Sunlight will play tricks on you. When you’re in the sun, your skin might look glowing and beautiful. But once you get home, you will realize that you’re redder than a cherry tomato. I can see it now: Fear washes over your face and you look at yourself in the mirror, asking, “What have I done?” Yes, that’s straight out of a horror movie. But if you’ve had a severe sunburn like I have, you know it is real life and not just dramatics.
You’re angry, aren’t you? You’re angry at yourself that you forgot that bottle of sunscreen at home. You’re angry that you didn’t apply it more regularly. You’re trying to find someone to blame, but you know it was your own mistake. It’s OK, be angry. Let it all out. Just don’t take it out on the sun, because the more time you spend outside pointing your finger at it, the more you’ll burn.
There’s no excuse for not protecting your skin. Dermatologists recommend applying sunscreen daily, even in the winter. It should be a part of everyone’s skin care regime, but I admit that even I forget to apply protection. So you can regret your decision — or lack thereof — all you want. But at least now you might consider applying sunscreen as a part of your daily routine.
There, there. Everyone has experienced sunburn at least once in their lives. The sun is unforgiving, but it’s obviously easy to forget that when you’re enjoying the outdoors. It’s totally understandable to feel ashamed of your mistake, and to avoid telling anyone the real reason why you’re not going out this weekend. Or going out at all. Netflix and delivery for the win.
The salt from your tears isn’t going to mend your burning skin. But, it might make you feel better. So let it all out, and just be sad. Sure, your skin hurts and you will probably hide your sunburn by wearing clothes that cover it, but the good thing is that it will eventually go away. It might take some time, and it might take some care, but your skin will repair itself.
The sun is the hottest, biggest star in our galaxy. Did you think it would be nice to you? Did you think you could escape its wrath? No, no you didn’t. But you chose to fight it anyway, and now you’re dealing with the consequences. There’s nothing else you can do besides accept it. So over the next couple of days, or weeks, while your skin burns, peels, and heals, just remember how important sun protection really is.
Because no one wants to go through that again.
Images: Paramount Pictures; Giphy