Island Girl's PSA: Tanning is OUT and Your Skin is IN!!!


I had a wake up call this week regarding sun exposure and wearing sunscreen.  I live in sunny Florida and have visited some very nice places with great beaches that are near the equator.  I've mistakenly thought that my olive tone skin would protect me.  While darker skin is less likely to be affected negatively by the sun, no one is immune.  I want to share my experience in case it can help someone else.

1535385_10202946244611175_2027794919_nPaia Beach, Maui, Hawaii




when I am out exploring beaches and Islands.  I grew up in Vermont where we only had a few weeks of really hot and sunny weather during the year.  We didn't really think about sunscreen because we wanted to soak in as much of the sunlight as we could.  I was a tomboy and I was always outdoors. We also had a pool and I never really worried about getting a sunburn.

I  As a teenager we used baby oil when laying in the sun.  When I went to college, we made a point of being out during the PTH 's - also known as the prime tanning hours between 10 AM and two PM.  I will tell you in this post are the hours when the sun is the strongest and most dangerous and we need to be the most careful. 

When I was in my 20s I discovered tanning beds.   At that time most people believed that tanning beds were better for you than the sun.  That belief is now said to be very untrue. 

I went to a dermatologist last week and pointed out some moles that I have developed in adulthood.  I also pointed out a small spot on my nose which the doctor might not have noticed if I hadn't pointed it out. It was on the side of my nose which is a very typical area for certain types of skin cancer to develop.  When the doctor saw it, she immediately said that it needed to be removed. 

I had to wait nearly 2 weeks for the biopsy to come in it came back as a pre-cancerous lesion so it is not cancer and basically had about a one in five chance of becoming cancer.  If it had come back as cancer, I would have faced 15 days of radiation five days a week for three weeks.  She did recommend that in the fall I go back for a very deep chemical peel.  She wants me to wait because having something like this done in the summer can make your skin extra sensitive. 

So what will I do differently in the future?  I will do my best not to spend a lot of time in the sun between 10 AM and 2 PM if I do need to be in the sun I will make sure that I use a broad-spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF or above.  I will wear a wide brimmed hat and reapply sunscreen every hour or so.  One should also need to make sure that the expiration date on my sunscreen is good as it doesn't last forever. 

I have also learned through this ordeal that everyone should check their skin frequently for any changes.  Our skin is the largest organ in your body and it's not a bad idea to have a yearly check up or more often if you are at risk for skin cancer.  If you have a relative with the most serious type of cancer called melanoma, you are more likely to develop it.  Any moles that are larger than the size of a pencil eraser or that are very dark colored or have an asymmetrical border should be looked at by a doctor.  Melanoma is almost always curable if caught early.  If is if it is not caught early it is extremely serious. 

I will still visit beaches, but thankfully I stopped just lying on the beach in the past five or six years.  I prefer to sit under umbrellas or inside.  As I've gotten older I don't really like just to sit still.  I like to explore and walk around so just laying on the beach and baking in the sun is no longer fun to me. 

All of this said I will still be very vigilant when it comes to my skin and visit a doctor at least once a year.  Unfortunately it can take as much is 20 to 40 years for the full effects of sun damage to show up on your skin. You can read more about skin cancer here:  Skin Cancer Facts

Here is a list of what I will do differently in the future:

1.  Avoid the sun and or be extra careful between 10 AM and 2 PM

2. Wear a broad spectrum sunscreen of at least 30 SPF making sure to check the expiration date and re-apply every 1-2 hours.

3.  Wear a wide brimmed hat at the beach - sunglasses are good too.

4.  Visit a doctor at least once a year for a skin scan check.  Anything suspicious especially unusual moles need to be checked immediately.

Luckily I love stormy weather - even at the beach:


Thank you so much for stopping by please leave any comments or questions.  I hope you all have a wonderful week.


Maui's Rugged North Shore and My Wonderful Experience Traveling the Hana Highway

 *Another post from memory only using a point and shoot camera.  I truly loved northern Maui so I wanted to write about it.  I would love to go back and fly into Hana.  The photo of me below is at a fruit stand in the "photo booth" on my way to Hana via the famous or some may say infamous Hana Highway.

Maui6666_tonemappedI have been to Maui two times.  One time was for a whole month or close to it.  I was there for yoga training so I didn't have much time to see much on the island except the southern section in the Kihei area.  I have many friends who have visited Maui several times, and some that go every year. I am surprised at how many people only visit the south shore and never go to the state park.

I do understand why some people don't want to drive on the Hana Highway.  Although it is one of the most breathtaking rides I have ever been on, I can see the car rental companies don't want people driving on it.  There are many hairpin turns and you need to drive really slowly.  There are places where two cars can't fit through at once.   It is not a journey for the faint of heart or those who get carsick easily at all.  I highly recommend driving it ONLY in good weather and preferably during the daylight. 

If you do decide to drive the Hana Highway, I recommend allowing yourself plenty of time to see the beautiful sites safely.  I do have a friend who had to have a helicopter come pick her up because the road made her so sick.  I think that's rare, but if very curvy and hilly roads make you sick you might want to consider not driving all or most of the Hana Highway.

I would like to go back to Hana and fly into that airport so I can spend several days exploring that area.  I find the northern area of Maui very natural and untouched.  The flowers and trees grow so much bigger in this area.  I also enjoy the beaches which have larger waves.  There are less tourists and if you like nature than the northern part of Maui might be for you.  I do understand why some people want to go to the big-name hotels and lay on the beach.  Until I move to Florida, that's what I wanted to do when I needed a break from work.  It can also be less expensive to visit the northern shore of Maui.

My friend and I did the drive to Hana in about 4 hours.  It can be done in less, but I personally think you need at least 4 hours or longer.  I wish we'd had a little more time to experience Hana, but we need to get back to our cabin before dark.

Maui6666_tonemappedPracticing Yoga at one of the many scenic spots along Hana Highway:
Maui6666_tonemappedA storm approaching Paia Beach:
Maui6666_tonemappedMaui4A rugged rocky beach area on Maui:
Maui6666_tonemappedThe "photo booth" at the fruit stand:
Maui6666_tonemappedMy friend and I having fun at the fruit stands "photo booth" in Hana:

Maui6You will see many beautiful waterfalls long the highway.  I wanted to stop and take photos of many, but that is not always possible on this road.  The road is very narrow in some spots and there isn't always a place to pull over for these scenic views:

Maui4Here is a photo showing how curvy the "Hana Highway" is:

The following photos are of Haleakalā National Park.  This is not a hard area to get to and does not take long to get there in a car.  It is about 10,000 feet above sea level so it's quite chilly.  I did not bring anything warm to wear as we and just been at the beach so I just threw everything on that I had in the car - which might be obvious :)
Maui4I felt like I'd landed on Mars!

Maui4Here are some photos taken from the restaurant we stopped at coming back from the park.  The views were stunning.  I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but there are so many good one on your way to Haleakalā National Park.:


MauiiWe balanced our stay out with  few days at the Ritz Carlton on the west coast of Maui with a cute cottage in Haiku.  One of the benefits of staying in the northern section of Maui is the price of lodging.  Our cottage had wifi, a kitchen and was very comfortable.  We only paid about $80/night.  Many of the hotels in Southern Maui can be about ten times that amount.

The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua

Maui6-2Here is a photo of a view from our cottage window in northern Maui:

Maui4and with a storm coming...

Mauiiii4444Here is a photo of yous truly at Paia Beach.  I'm dressed inappropriately in a dress because we were supposed to be going out to dinner:
  Thank you so much for visiting.  Have you ever been to Northern Maui?  If so, I would love to hear about your experiences!  Take care and have a great week!