"I started getting small dark spots under my eyes, on my cheeks, as well as on my shoulders and arms. Being in my mid-twenties at this point, I was terrified of damaging my skin for the rest of my life. Not to mention, that voice in my head saying, this is one step away from something serious."
It all began as a child. I remember my father coming home one day with a huge Band-Aid on his cheek. One thing you know as a kid, Band-Aids mean owies. In my mind, all I could think was it must have really hurt because, one, it was a really big Band-Aid and two, It was on for weeks. This is the first time I learned about skin cancer.
Since then my parents have always been huge about sunscreen. Growing up in Texas meant a lot of sunscreen protected days at the pool. We regularly talked about the harshness of the sun and I knew there are real consequences of not protecting your skin.
After college, I worked on a farm in South Carolina. That meant long consecutive days working outside in the direct sun. I did what I could to protect my skin. I soaked myself in sunscreen every morning and with no outlined daily breaks, I reapplied when possible. I found makeup from It Cosmetics with 50+ SPF, which I love and wear everyday.
I started getting small dark spots under my eyes, on my cheeks, as well as on my shoulders and arms. Being in my mid-twenties at this point, I was terrified of damaging my skin for the rest of my life. Not to mention, that voice in my head saying, this is one step away from something serious. I started wearing long-sleeve breathable golf shirts and a hat everyday. After that, I ended up with a desk job and was back to protecting my skin on an as needed basis.
Then I started marathon training. I am not a fast runner, so on my long running days I would be outside for sometimes 4+ hours in the Georgia sun. The now faded sun spots started reappearing on my pale skin. I managed by choosing shadier spots to run and reapplying sunscreen.
When I decided to take on the world of Triathlon and signed up for my first 70.3, I started actively looking for clothing I could run and more specifically bike with in hot weather that covered my body and kept me protected. It was so surprising to discover the limited, warm weather, sun protective options available to female athletes.
I was so happy when I learned about Tri Sirena. Finally, a brand that prioritized sun protection for female athletes! I have learned so much about the dangers of not being protected from the sun from Tri Sirena and am able to share that with other athletes.
Sun protection is important to me because, 1) I want to preserve my skin for as long as possible and be the example for others to do the same. 2) I want to be healthy and this means protecting my skin. 3) I want others to know protecting your skin is important.
Teaching your children the consequences of bad skin protection is a necessary preventative measure. My story is not tear jerking or world shattering it is of someone who knows risking your skin's health is not worth it. Not only do I want to continue to do the things I enjoy but I want my loved ones to as well.
I will leave you with this, you would not ride your bike outside without a helmet to protect from a fall. You wouldn’t run in the dark on roads without lights to protect from a crash. So why would you not protect your skin from the sun?
Written By: Stephanie Wiliammee, Tri Sirena Siren Luminary
Follow Stephanie on Instagram @stephanatorrunswithit
Why is sun protection important to you? Let us know in the comments below!
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