Monday, June 13, 2011

Another Thing I DIY...

Just a little disclaimer!
This is not a home, decor, or furniture post, but it is something that I have learned to DIY over the last couple of years. Whether you agree or disagree with me makes no difference, this is just part of my personal story so I thought I would share. I make no judgments here, so please don't misinterpret my intentions with this post. I love all my readers!!! It's MY DIY blog about all things I DIY, and this happens to be one of them, so I thought I would share!

At this point you are probably thinking, " What on earth is she talking about?!". But with summer approaching I wanted to share some of my favorite summertime DIY products, and the reason behind my starting to use them.....

So here goes.....A few years ago I had a huge scare.
I was at the Dermatologist Office getting a full body exam, something that I was kinda guilt-ed into getting done, something I thought I was wasting my time doing, and something that I am forever thankful I did. You see my doctor found something that she thought was Melanoma, a tini-tiny spot on my back that I couldn't even see, that I never would have known was there. If you have ever read anything about skin cancer, you know that Melanoma, is the scariest, worst kind. It can spread to all other parts of your body, and unless you are familiar with your skin, can often go undetected until it has spread. The couple of weeks while I waited to hear back from the Dermatologist about the test results, were quite frightening. I was in my early twenties and just assumed things like this just didn't happen to people, or at least they didn't happen to me.

I anxiously waited a few weeks to hear back from the office, that what they took off was not in fact Melanoma; but was just a pre pre pre something or other. I had done a lot of reading over those few weeks and knew that if un-checked those pre pre pre somethings can slowly change into cancer. Those feelings of dread however were short lived, and soon after getting the all clear from my doctor I returned to using the tanning bed. I had made another appointment to get a full body exam in a year, so I figured all was fine. You see I was never a tanner growing up, I have fair skin and light hair, my mom knew to mostly keep us out of the sun. Maybe growing up in Maine where summers are rather short helped, but for whatever reason I was just not into being tan growing up. In college however, I discovered that I really liked that nice golden glow one gets from the sun. Working a full time job AND going to college did not allow me a lot of that laying on the beach time, so I started a little tanning bed habit. Yup, I would go year round! I live in sunny ole' Virginia now, and it seems ( or at least seemed to me at the time ) that everyone tanned. So I happily jumped onto the tanning bed bandwagon.

I won't lie to you, I enjoyed everything I got from that little habit, the nice glow, the twenty minutes of peace all to myself, and the feeling that a nice tan can make you look thinner. I enjoyed all of it. That is until I returned the next year for another exam, this time though; the doctor found several spots she was anxious about. I had them all biopsied right there and they were sent to a lab to be examined further. She didn't like how many suspicious spots she found after only one year, this time she told me I would need to come see her every six months to get a full body exam instead of the typical, just once a year.

Those days of waiting were the worst feeling of dread, I can't tell you how anxious and agitated I was waiting to hear back about the results. I vowed to never use another tanning bed again! Something to this day I have never done! Nor do I lay out at the beach trying to get as dark as possible. If I am out side, it's sunscreen as high and as often as possible. I had the need to tan scared right out of me!
So I return to the Dermatologist every six months now, and until this last time, I have had several suspicious things taken off each time. Each time, though I get the call that it is NOT Melanoma, which I am so very grateful for. But only one time have I left the office with no new bandages from where they've taken something off. Only one time in the last several years! I now have scars on my body from the places I have had to have taken off. While it is not something I love, I am just grateful it has always come back negative

I am only in my mid twenties. Melanoma as well as other skin cancers use to be thought of as an old persons disease, not so anymore.
While nothing I have had taken off has turned out to be Melanoma, I am convinced that I have had so many changes in my skin, because I used a tanning bed. I did a little research and found out that your chances of developing Melanoma go up by 75% if you use a tanning bed in your teens and twenties! Yup, 75%! It can also take years to develop, so even though the last time I went to the dermatologist I got the all clear. I will most likely continue to go every six months for the rest of my life.

"So what's this have to do with DIY", you ask. Well I found a few products that I love, that I think look the same as a "real" tan. ( I was not paid to endorse either of these products, I just wanted to share them with you)

My favorite, is the new Mystic Tan HD.

I love the look I get from it! It makes me wonder why I never went Faux before!

Here is a photo of me from the winter months, without any faux tan color!

And here's one a few days after I got a Mystic Hd tan!

When I can't make it to get a spray tan, I do some quick touch-ups myself!
One of my favorite at home products I love is from St. Tropez,

Neither one of these products is completely perfect, I have definitely left the Mystic Tan place with too much tanner on a finger or two! I also think that over time I have gotten better at applying the blending creme before, which has helped greatly with making the tan seam natural.
Even if I end up with a few fingers too dark, I would much rather have that for a day or two. I know that will eventually fade away. The scares I have on my body from getting spots biopsied are permanent.

This video is called,
Message to my sixteen year old self.
Something I wish someone had passed on to me when I was sixteen!

I don't share with you all to make anyone feel bad about the personal choices they make. This is just part of my story and I wanted to share!


  1. Melanome is the most common cancer for people in their 20's. Scary. My husband was diagnosed at 30 with stage 3 melanoma. It spread to one lymph node. The treatment and surgeries were awful. It just takes one sunburn. I wish people understood how dangerous tanning and getting a burn is. Thanks for posting this.

  2. I am an oncoloy nurse, so I understand the implications of sun. Thanks for spreading the word about accepting life without tanning beds. On another note, I need to know everything about your "after mystic tan" picture! How do you do your bronzer/blush? What color is your hair? Meaning is there a color name, or ?? You look gorgeous! I love your bangs!! Thanks in advance!

  3. Thanks for sharing this, its so important, I also loved tanning and did most of it in my early twenties...once you get that glow its hard to go back! Always interested in a safer alternative :)

  4. What a story. I've heard that the damage you do in your teens may not show up until you are much older-or maybe we don't take it serious until we are older. Good thing someone guilted you into seeing that dermatologist. Faux is the way to go with tanning.

  5. Thank you SO MUCH for this very important post! You could have saved someone's life by writing this!

    St. Tropez is TOTALLY the best. I recommend putting on some latex gloves when applying it.

  6. My next door neighbour, a 34 year old man with 2 toddlers, died 6 weeks ago from melanoma. No symptoms....from the time he was diagnosed until he died was 12 days. So incredibly scary. And yet, I've been going to tanning beds for years and still do. Stupid, obviously.

  7. It's hard to give up tanning when you're used to seeing yourself with color...but with the fake stuff that's out there now, it's a little easier! I've had a similar scare, on my neck! They had to go back 3 times to cut larger and larger spots to get all the bad cells out, now I have a little scar. The scare was worth it though and I'm more careful about the sun, and def don't do beds anymore! glad you are healthy and safe!!

  8. I did the tanning bed thing for a few years. Then, just two years ago (5 years after I stopped), I had a scare with a mole. It was taken off and biopsied just as you described. I was scared as you described. It was also benign. But, I definitely don't use a tanning bed and have just opted to go all natural... though others may thank me for trying some of these options. haha. I have wondered about the Mystic tans... Is there a strong smell with it?

  9. This is so sad and it's so hard for me to know that it doesn't have to be this way and not share it. Our ancestors did not die from skin cancer. They ate healthy foods and therefore their bodies were able to handle the sun's rays. If you're interested in learning more this link talks about the nutrition our body needs that prevents sun burns and getting skin cancer-- The comments people wrote about their own personal experiences have plenty of good stuff in them too.

    I'm not affiliated with her. I just have people in my family that do burn and my husband use to burn quite a bit before he started eating healthy. It's really scary for me and I worry about it so I try to make sure that we eat well and keep taking our cod liver oil.

    I just found your website and love your style :)


I'd love to know what you think! Thanks for reading!

~xoxo a blonde ~


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