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Skin Diary: Katherine Minnis, Day 38, Week 6

June 03, 2013

Skin Diary: Katherine Minnis, Day 38, Week 6

[caption id="attachment_2375" align="aligncenter" width="583"]Katherine Minnis Katherine Minnis[/caption]  

It’s that time of year again. I went into Topshop to buy a new jumper (it’s still freezing) and came out with a pair of shorts. Ever the optimist, I look forward to summer like a child waits for Christmas Day. The (mainly) cloudless bank holiday weekend lured me into ill-fated anticipation that finally - FINALLY - summer was coming and soggy ballet slippers were to be a thing of the past. Of course, it was raining all last week. And now my feet are wet again.

But surveying my pasty pins in the mirror this morning I felt a flutter of relief that it wasn’t quite time to expose them to the elements just yet. Slightly grey and peppered with bruises (I perpetually play a losing game with most doorways and desk edges) my legs are frankly looking a bit sorry for themselves. There’s nothing I want more for them than 10 days baking on a beach somewhere.

[caption id="attachment_2374" align="aligncenter" width="583"]Katherine Minnis Katherine Minnis[/caption]

A self-confessed tanorexic, I have always felt better brown. And I definitely look better brown. In previous posts, I've talked before about my skin clearing up as soon as the sun hits it: a nice dark tan obscures pretty much any blemish, leaving my skin looking clear and even. But the quest for a tan can also cloud your judgement.

Blessed with naturally olive skin, I’ve never been much of a burner. That said, you’d think that being from a Northern Irish family (with a fair, red-haired sister) might have heeded some warning. Whilst I blithely frolicked for hours in the sun on holiday with nothing to show for it other than some serious tan lines, the rest of my family religiously slapped on the sun-protection and (sensibly) stayed in the shade. As I grew, so did my love for the sun – backpacking for months seeking out far-flung beaches. And though I did wear sunscreen, I’d be lying if I said I wore it enough, or with a high enough factor.

[caption id="attachment_2377" align="aligncenter" width="604"]Katherine Minnis Katherine Minnis[/caption]

So, last year, aged 27, I found myself lying face down in hospital whilst doctors tugged away, pulling a chunk off my back. I can’t say I was wholly surprised: I somehow knew this might happen one day. A mole on my back had got bigger and weirder, morphing into a malignant melanoma.

Why? It was simple: I had foolishly spent far too much time in the very hot sun, without adequate protection. But, luckily, I caught it in time. And despite a less-than-attractive scar on my back, I’m relatively unscathed. But obviously my attitude to tanning has had to change. Protecting myself against the sun is now a crucial part of my routine, as is checking my body for further melanomas regularly. And perhaps it’s appalling to admit this, but I’m still struggling to give up my tanning obsession. It’s hard to feel beautiful without being bronzed.

[caption id="attachment_2376" align="alignleft" width="334"]Cosmedix: Hydrate Plus Cosmedix: Hydrate Plus[/caption]

The good thing about my brush with cancer, though, is it makes me even more determined to solve my skin issues at their root. Perfect, creamy pale skin doesn’t need a tan to hide the imperfections, right? Now, a crucial part of my Medico Beauty regime is the Hydrate+ Plus SPF 17 and I wear it every day. When the sun is stronger, I need a higher SPF. But the harsh chemical sun-creams 50+ you find on the high-street are laced with carcinogenic fragrance chemicals, irritating alcohols and parabens. And now, using Cosmedix and the Medico Beauty Method, I’m happily reaping the rewards of using skin-friendly products and getting the skin result I always wanted. I don’t want to reverse all the good work by using chemical skin nasties.

It's not just the ingredients in the sun cream that matters, it’s also which rays they protect against. UVB rays cause burning. Whereas UVA rays cause sun-damage and wrinkles. BOTH contribute towards CANCER growths. So it’s essential that you use broad-spectrum protection that shields against both. However, many high street sunscreens actually only protect against only UVB. There have been campaigns lobbying against the misleading labeling of many brands for quite some time. The American and Australian governments are a bit further ahead than us, here in the UK.

[caption id="attachment_2395" align="aligncenter" width="400"]The difference between UVA & UVB The difference between UVA & UVB[/caption]

On a recent pre-wedding reckkie to Ibiza, I reached for the handy Reflect SPF30 Spray. The Reflect formulation uses a skin-friendly, mineral veil of protection and boasts an antioxidant, hydrating formula. It doesn’t just lie on the surface of the skin: the intelligent, Chirally Correct formula  penetrates into the lowest layers to support (rather than inhibit) the skin’s self-hydrating properties. Best of all, it isn’t greasy and you can apply your make up over the top almost immediately if you want to. And when on the go, I top things up with my newest purchase: Mineral Makeup with an inbuilt SPF 30 protection.

[caption id="attachment_3544" align="aligncenter" width="604"]Katherine Minnis in Costa Rica Katherine Minnis in Costa Rica[/caption]

Wrinkles. Age spots. Skin cancer. It’s enough to make you want to move to Iceland and wear a burka. But it’s not all doom and gloom. My skin is noticeably better during the summer months – and its not just because it’s brown. The sun enables our skin to produce Vitamin D, which it needs for healthy repair. And throughout this process, I've realised with Aysha's advice that I'm Vitamin D deficient. It's not just rickets and osteoporosis that Vitamin D protects against: deficiency also links to disease, obesity, MS, cancer and depression. And, one of the most interesting things I’ve learnt from the team at Medico Beauty is that, actually, a little regular sun exposure is a good thing. And for the times that I can't get the sun exposure I need, I've been supplementing with ISO D3 (a metobolised Vitamin D supplement). Find out the difference between supplementing with Vitamin D and ISO D3 here in Constance's blog.

[caption id="attachment_3543" align="aligncenter" width="604"]Katherine Minnis in Costa Rica Katherine Minnis in Costa Rica[/caption]

Combining sunshine – enjoying the outdoors, rather than cooped up inside – with a healthy diet high in good fats will build up your body's strength. And there’s even growing evidence that suggests it’s our increasingly desk-bound, ensuing Vitamin D deficiency and indoor lives that increase our risk of skin cancer. Unused to sun-exposure, we shock and overload our systems with intensive burning bakes on a beach for 2 weeks a year. So here’s to a summer of long country walks, afternoons in the park and maybe the odd dip in the sea. If it ever stops raining that is.


1st post in Katherine’s 3 month skin challenge: Skin Diary: Day 0, Week 1 2nd post: Skin Diary: Day 10, Week 2 3rd post: Skin Diary: Day 33, Week 4 4th post: Skin Diary: Day 38, Week 6 5th post: Skin Diary: Day 46, Week 7 6th post: Skin Diary: Day 90, Week 12

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