What do George Hamilton, Zonker Harris and the Sunscreen Evangelist have in common?
In search of the perfect tan! Or as GB Trudeau, author of Doonesbury wrote: Stalking the Perfect Tan
It's ironic that me, the young man who LOVED the sun and worked on the PERFECT TAN for many years, is the same person that has spent the last 29+ years protecting people from sunburns and potentially skin cancer.
In my teens and 20's, I spent as much time as possible in the sun trying to get tanned even in the snow (using a sunscreen that advertised- honey bronced and very very desirable)- I believe this sunscreen brand meant "bronzed".
Having a tan was important to me, as I thought I "stood" out with a tan. Living in Canada, in the winter, I'd use tanning beds for a base before our family trips to Hawaii. This was before I knew better and found out more about indoor tanning beds and their damaging effects on the skin.
In the summer months, I would go outside with baby oil and get completely BURNT, only to go out that night beet red and say "it will turn into a tan". This happened too many times and sometimes I'd peel but I was "invincible" or so I thought.
I had no idea how much damage I was doing to my skin and overall health. Then, due to a medical scare before my 30th birthday, it was time to change my ways. I was not only giving my skin a beating, I wasn't kind to my liver either, which is what 10 years of importing (sampling?) beers, wines and spirits will do to you.
I still loved the sun, whether it is outdoors hiking, golfing, beach volleyball, running, tennis, fishing or just chilling. I'm still going to be outdoors, so how can I do it, without having to put on a greasy or sticky, sunscreen on my skin.
It was back in 1994, with the help of my partner who became my wife. Josie had worked for Estee Lauder group, and just finished her degree in Human Kinetics, with many amazing professors/ sports medicine doctors, that helped us start in the skin care business.
One sports medicine doctor told us that athletes had a lower incidence of most disease, except one that was higher in athletes, skin cancer. Our goal was to make a sunscreen that athletes would use and for someone like me, who hated sunscreen. With the help of some amazing chemists and doctors, we created a sunscreen that I could and would use every day! and the athletes loved it, as it wasn't thick or goopy and allowed their skin to breathe.
A Molecular Geneticist, on our Scientific Advisory Board in 1997 told me that using an SPF 30 everyday could reduce some pre-cancerous lesions. I abused my skin for years, and now we have a formula I can wear everyday, do I did.
Pre-Covid in 2017, I went to see a Dermatologist about a "mole" I was concerned about. The doctor removed a few moles, only to find skin cancer. I had Basal Cell and numerous stitches. She told me that we were seeing the effects of the abuse I did to my skin, from 15-20 years earlier. I was just happy it wasn't worse. This gave me pause and I knew to book yearly skin checks and that early intervention could save lives.
During Covid, I missed a couple of check ups, but continued to use sunscreen daily. Post-Covid (2022), I went for a full body scan again and "knock on wood", no issues, nothing to remove and still using sunscreen every day!
Again, from someone who didn't care or understand the power of skin cancer, I'm very thankful to that Molecular Geneticist, as my skin should/could be in worse shape than it is. But, the daily use of sunscreens does work. Thank you for just being you Dr. Glickman and to Dr. Clement for the education on athletes and skin cancer. You both have saved me and I'm grateful. Always be you! BÜ