Monday, June 23, 2008

Burned again

In case I haven’t mentioned it in the last forty-eight seconds, I’m of largely Celtic descent. Sure, there’s a little American Indian tossed into the mix, but by and large I am a product of Ireland and Wales. (Me father he was orange and me mather, she was greeeeen…)

ANYWAY. I am a touch on the pale side, is what I’m getting at, here. And with the days of lying around in a bikini worshiping the Sun God long behind me (that is still considered ‘bad’, right? I have trouble keeping up with the latest medical news…), my always-considerable tendency to go from ‘fine’ to ‘extra crispy’ in about ten seconds flat has gone from tendency to count on it.

Plus, I started a new medication last week for my complete inability to get more than thirty minutes of sleep at a time, which lists among its numerous side effects (cripes, sometimes I wonder if the risks outweigh the benefits) increased sensitivity to sunlight and cautions me to ‘wear SPF 30 or greater’ (OK) and a hat (Not. Going. To. Happen. Sorry.) when out in same.

So naturally, when I went to California’s Great America theme park with Danger Mouse on Sunday, I took along sunscreen. I lathered it onto myself before I left the house, dropped it into my bag for the road, reapplied before we went into the park and again right after we had a shockingly bad AND expensive lunch in the park, when the sun was really beating on me. Or perhaps it was paying seven dollars and fifty cents for a greasy hot dog and a small bag of potato chips that got the heat rising under my collar.

Because, really. I expected the food would be on the expensive side, but they took it waaaaaaay too far on the high price / low quality scale.

(The food at Great America sucks. It is really, really awful. Even their funnel cake was ‘eh’ and again, pricy! Next time, I’m packing a cooler and we’ll just make the hike back out to the parking lot to eat our Forbidden Cheap And Good Fruit at the car. SO THERE!)

A couple hours later as we stood in line (in the sun) for the White Water Rapids, I felt strangely hot. Hot in a way that has nothing to do with the temperature of the air around you, but rather a kind of hot that says, “Hey, did you put your arm in the oven and forget about it?”

I took off my sunglasses and took a hard squint at my arm.

Oh. My. Gawd.

No. No. Nononononononono. No. That is not a sunburn…!

Because I am cool under pressure and also classy, I immediately yanked down the collar of my t-shirt, took one look at the color contrast between my breasts (white as the Cliffs of Dover) and my routinely exposed skin (henna) and yelled, “HOLY @*^&@, I’M REDDER THAN A MAINE LOBSTER RIGHT OUT OF THE POT!!!!”

Klass. Capital ‘K’. That’s me. It’s a wonder I didn’t turn to the people around us in line and demand that they compare my boobs with my neck to get a consensus opinion on the degree of sunburn I had achieved.

Infuriated, I immediately pulled my sunscreen out of my bag so I could find the 800 number and give the people over at Neutrogena a Piece! Of! My! Outraged! And! Also! Slightly! Blistered! Mind!!!!

It was then that I noticed a very important detail about the product I had been so liberally slathering on myself, and it was this: It wasn’t what I thought it was.

I thought I was using this:


Instead, I had grabbed this:

Not Sunscreen!


I see.

So…that hand lotion would have an SPF of…approximately…using round numbers…zero.


The really sad thing is, these bottles look nothing alike. I mean, same manufacturer and all, but the designs on the bottles are so utterly different that really…I can’t imagine how I didn’t notice I was smearing mere lotion on my body.



Id. Dee. Uht.

But…at least my charred skin is well moisturized.


I’m just…going back to my knitting, now…


Kali said...

My very last full day at any beach during daylight hours was well in the last century. I still live with the legacy of it. Once you have sun sickness, you are always susceptible. The blisters on my shoulders could have been mistaken for football shoulder pads. It was like having a full-scale blister attack ALL OVER MY BHAH-DEE. (I was young and wore the skimpiest suit my mother would allow, of course.)

I spent the next week in a series of tanin (cool tea) baths, oatmeal baths, and slimy from constant reapplication of cream that my skin absorbed faster than I could apply it. I was dizzy when standing, nauseous lying or sitting down.

Yup. My first visit to the ocean was to Jones Beach in New York and I almost didn't live to tell about it.

It's gonna hurt. Hopefully the meds are better now.

Your kids will remember this as the trip where mommy went all red and stayed that way forEVer!

You, on the other hand, will develop a taste for moonlight and avoid garlic.

(formerly) no-blog-rachel said...

Oh. Ouch! I totally feel your pain; I'm of the so-pale-I-glow-in-the-dark variety myself.

Fibra Artysta said...

I am also fish belly white. I walked around an art fair for half an hour, had SPF 30 on, and still turned hot pink. Not quite red but more like the obnoxious hot pink that was popular on the decorating shows not too long ago.

My sympathies, I hope your burn doesn't get too painful. Just don't scratch, ouchie.

Anonymous said...

Owie! I hope you feel better soon.

Janet McKinney said...

Ouch - sounds like the cream basted you for a crispy skin than protecting you. Sorry for the pain you have
Janet McKinney

Siercia said...

Oh my goodness.

I hope you recover from the crispy soon!

Louiz said...

Ouch. I am also of the burning variety - and the best cures? malt vineger, if you can find it, soak a cloth in it, lay it gently over your hurty bits, repeat when the cloth gets warm. Stinks, but it works. A nice Spanish lady told me about it years ago... when I was sporting some natty lobster colouring myself.

Lydee said...

oh no, hope your poor skin feels better soon.

Anonymous said...

Aloe Vera - the one that cools your skin (it’s blue) is wonderful.
I was in Maui and used 50 SPF every day except the last – thought I’d get some “color” - I burned so bad that any light touching my skin hurt – even light from a light bulb.
Now, I always put on sunscreen and wear a hat if in the sun for more than a half hour.
(Target has some inexpensive(!) & fashionable hats)

Rena said...

OMG! I'm sorry, but I'm lmao!!!!!!!!!!!! Mostly because I've done the very same thing!

must be genetic. ;-)

geekch1ck said...

I am so sorry you are burned. I know how that feels..I am also the whitest person I know. But I'm also LMAO, because...Been there, done that!! How does that happen?

Sit in a cool oatmeal bath with your knitting (takes some doing, but you can bathe and knit at the same time). Hope you feel better soon.

carielynn said...

Please know that I am with you in empathetic sunburn pain. I am of Scottish and Scandinavian descent, and therefore burn immediately upon UV exposure (especially that first time out each spring), regardless of the strength of sunblock used or the liberality with which it is applied. We had a soccer tournament a week ago, and I really glopped the stuff on all day; by the time we got home I was sunsick and burnt. Now I look like a molting lizard (Ewww). Sorry for the bad day at Great America.

Judy said...

Owie, you must really be in pain. Try the malt vinegar. It really does work. Agesssss ago when I was just out of high school I went to MO with my future hubby and his family and we all got scorched. Someone said to try vinegar and we did. We chilled it a bit first and it felt so good. Aloe vera is good also.
Take care and look more closely at the bottle next time. LMAO.


PipneyJane said...


Can I add my vote for the malt vinegar cure? It does work. Slices of cucumber are also good for taking the heat out of sunburn - just lay them on your skin and remove when they get hot.

- Pam (another fair skinned brunette)

Anonymous said...

My "pale as a ghost" skin hurts for you.

MadMad said...

Oh, no, oh, no, oh, no! I can't even imagine! And that darned place doesn't even have a tree anywhere in sight - you must be completely fried. I'm so sorry.

RM Kahn said...

I grew up on the beaches of Florida as a child and was nut brown every summer. But something happened one summer and when I got too much sun, I started breaking out in a rash that would itch like the dickens. Then as time went on, I just stopped tanning and went to frying. I am heading to Maui in August, and I am already stocking up on sunscreen!
I feel your pain.

As to Great America.. bah! That place is so in need of a theme park make-over from top to bottom. They are certainly nowhere close to being Disneyland but they could sure take some lessons from The Mouse!

Yarnhog said...

Oh no, oh no, oh no!!!

I'm a fair skinned redhead with about all the natural sun resistance of a bowl of soft ice cream. I got actual shivers of horror when I saw that hand cream.

Try a cool bath and lots of aloe vera gel. And ibuprofen.

Anonymous said...

poor thing! i got really badly burnt the weekend after memorial day and had sun-sickness the next day all during school. i had hot-flashes, then got really cold, and i felt nauseous whenever i moved.
if you can even stand to hold anything to your body, hold an icepack or something to the back of your neck or forehead if you feel sick- that REALLY helped me.

Threeundertwo said...

Ouch! I second the aloe vera recommendation. Very very funny story though.

I hate Great America's food too, but we get it anyway. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

Oh honey, you basted yourself like the Thanksgiving turkey!! OWOWOWOW!!
The vinegar works - even plain white vinegar. You'll smell like a dill pickle, but that's a lot better than feeling like an overcooked fajita. VERY smooth sheets on the bed and baths - not showers - for a couple days. Air hugs!

Anonymous said...

There's also tea therapy. You run a tepid tub and put in about 10 family size teabags and then immerse yourself. Apparently the tannic acid helps. (Blonde, blue-eved, pale skinned English/Irish - and former competitive swimmer - I used to get pink from the 8:30-10 a.m. summer outdoor practices ...)

Science PhD Mom said...

And if you're really hurting, good old Dermoplast spray is your friend. Hope you're feeling better now.

Anonymous said...

Wait--they make SPF 85?! Seriously? And here I thought I was doing good with my fancy-dancy SPF 45 + oil free + sensitive skin. SPF 85 is, like, a whole nuther level of pasty maintenance! :-D

So sorry to hear about the burn, though. I hope some of the above remedies worked out for you!

Anonymous said...

Belated sympathy shudders for you.
Me father was a O'Neil redhead and me mather was Irish-Comanche - heavy on the Irish. I have the Irish red-head skin. I feel your pain and have been known to scare small children with my forgot-to-put-sunscreen-on-my lips-and-went-skiing results. (oy)
I use Jafra's After Sun Moisturizing Lotion when I'm turning red. Or after I'm red. Or after I realize I'm way past red. It stops the burn and is not as sticky as Aloe Vera. Haven't tried the vinegar option, but I'm intrigued. Seriously - After Sun stops the burn (no, I don't sell the stuff, I just use it and type it's praises) and helps start the healing. Keep slathering it on as it gets absorbed. I'm behind on your blog - I'm hoping as I catch up that the burn won't be as bad as it initially sounds...KiniaCat