Tag Archives: change

A Post About Skin That Isn’t Really About Skin

I have a sunburn on the insides of my thighs because I went kayaking on the Cowlitz River a week or so ago and I didn’t think to put on sunscreen.

I think that fear of the sun is over-rated – what with being a pasty-faced white girl living in the dearth of Vitamin D that is the Pacific Northwest and all – also I still think of myself as invincible. Mostly,  I didn’t have any sunscreen and it was cloudy.

Though I don’t balk at ingesting whatever it is that makes the shelf-stable Cup O Noodle taste like food of the gods, I am loathe to slather oxybenzone et al on my body’s protective though permeable surface layer. “If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t put it on your body,” the maxim goes.

Cup O Noodle as sunscreen? Probably not.

Photo from wikimedia.org; creative commons license

So as I was sitting here watching Lynda.com videos on creating infographics and hiking up my yoga pants to get a really good scratch on my thigh, I glanced down and noticed that I’m peeling. Of course I’m peeling. I was sunburned.

The peeling spots appeared to be little circles on my skin, like really thin dried skin stickers kind of held on by sweat or spit or magnetism and yoga pants; but when I went to peel the stickers off I found that they were the holes in the otherwise intact skin. The positive and the negative inverted.

Hey, I’m as much a monkey groomer with bad depth perception as the next guy.

When we are in liminal states like identity clarification or financial unraveling, we hope the holes are little stickers that can be easily picked off, but it doesn’t seem to work like that. By the time we figure out it’s the whole layer of skin that’s going to come off, overwhelm and doubt can creep in. Being responsible for peeling off a whole layer of skin in one sitting is a big day.

So I think the trick is to realize that 1) sometimes not all of the skin has to come off -and sometimes more than one layer has to come off; 2) mostly skin heals itself when you nurture it with natural oils and aloes; 3) you can often be doing other stuff while you haphazardly scratch your skin when it’s particularly itchy; and finally, 4) everyone’s skin is different and heals in its own way and time.

Off to more infographic videos. Maybe I’ll make one about sunscreen.