How Skin Cancer Changed the Perspective of an Actress

Posted October 7th, 2016 | Written by

The start of fall means so many different things to so many different people. It is new beginnings, it is the first tearful separation from little ones as they start school, it is new resolutions, crisp air, apple picking, pumpkin spice lattes, scarves, boots and leather jackets. It is also for many, the end of having to coat oneself in goopy, thick sunscreen and worrying about wrestling children into putting on hats and reapplying the sunscreen.

Growing up on the east coast, September for me, meant that first slight chill in the air, where you break out your cozy sweaters and layering becomes a thing again.

It meant the start of shorter days and saying farewell to the endless days of summer.

It also for a long time, for me, meant no more sunscreen.

I was always pretty good about covering up in the summer. I played competitive tennis as a child and teen and that meant summers were filled with five hours of direct sun exposure on unshaded tennis courts. I wore sunscreen and a hat and reapplied…when I remembered.

But as soon as those leaves started to change color and the sky took on a greyish, dull hue, I tucked away my sunscreen in a drawer that I’d revisit for the winter holidays in Florida or the following summer. I just didn’t think it was necessary during the fall and winter months.

That all changed for me two years ago.

While pregnant with my second child, I discovered I had Basal Cell Carcinoma, a form of non-melanoma skin cancer, that left untreated, could cause disfiguration.

I had no idea I was ever at risk for skin cancer. I had grown up in Canada after all, with only three months of sunny weather a year.  I had no idea anyone my age (34) could get it and had it not been for a few concerned people who noticed it, it would have been left undetected much longer.

Skin Cancer is becoming way too common, and it is striking people at a much younger age. More than four million cases of Basal Cell Carcinoma are diagnosed in the U.S. each year (source). Dermatologists report that more and more people in their twenties and thirties are being treated for Basal Cell Carcinoma (source). This figure is shocking, and a wakeup call.

After my experience, I made a lifestyle change. First I had to find products I could use on a daily basis that didn’t feel imposing on my beauty routine and on-camera work. I definitely couldn’t pile on a thick, white Zinc sunscreen before heading out to a day of meetings or auditions and shoots.

I discovered the solution to my problem, Colorescience®. I was first introduced to Colorescience and their amazing products through a magazine I freelance for, and was impressed by their product line and message. It was the first time I’d heard the words suncare and makeup in the same sentence.

Everything is clean. Their sun protection is mineral based and safe to use on both my children and myself, which is so important to me. Their products make me feel beautiful while giving me the confidence I am doing everything I can to protect my whole family from the sun.

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Reapply Every Two Hours

I quickly fell in love with their Brush-on Sunscreen SPF 50. This is a mineral powder in a portable and retractable brush that I can carry with me everywhere and apply all day (every two hours) to touch up my face. It keeps shine down, is super sheer and truly protects. I brush it on my hands as I drive in my car to prevent sun spots. I brush it on my children’s faces at the park and even keep one in my car. It was my favorite accessory on my trip to Hawaii, and I also brought it skiing with me in Big Bear and zipped it into the pocket of my ski jacket so that I could reapply on the slopes.

Start Your Routine with Sunscreen

Another product I love is their Daily UV Protector Whipped Mineral Sunscreen, that acts just like a primer. It is the first thing I put on every morning after I moisturize and before my makeup. I can wear it all day long and it has become my best weapon against the sun. It is the perfect base for makeup and evens out my complexion and has some wonderful ingredients packed in it.

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Hats are Your BFF

I have learned a few other shortcuts and tricks after my experience to still look chic while being sunsafe. I have started a hip hat collection, including a few wide brimmed Brixton hats, some of my favorite sports team’s baseball hats and some super cool trucker hats by Mother Trucker. A line I love for beach holidays is The San Diego Hat Company. Their hats are breathable, and have a built in SPF and can fold up into tiny balls which make packing them away for a holiday amazing, I sometimes take a few in different colors!

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Wear Sun Protective Clothing

I make a conscious effort to always wear a short sleeve or long sleeve T-shirt instead of tanks to cover my freckled and sun damaged shoulders. And I always wear jeans or long maxi skirts in lieu of shorts and above the knee skirts.

Protect Your Lips

I use lip gloss with SPF. I love Colorescience Sunforgettable Lip Shine SPF 35 Sunscreen in Rose!

Avoid Direct Sunlight Year-round

I avoid direct sunlight if I can between 10 AM and 2 PM, even in the fall and winter.

Because, no matter where you live, and how cold outside it may be, the sun will always shine, and you will always be exposed to the sun’s harmful rays, even when the sky begins to take on that greyish dull hue and you trade in your strappy sandals for booties.

Be you. Be beautiful. And learn from me – be sunsafe.

*All of our sun protection products have been granted Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendations meeting specific criteria of an independent Photobiology Committee. The Seal is a symbol of safe and effective sun protection that is recognized by consumers worldwide. One of the first programs offered by the Foundation, it quickly gained acceptance from consumers for setting the standard for effective sun protection.

The Author

Samantha Gutstadt

Samantha Gutstadt

Samantha Gutstadt resides in Venice, California with her two adorable little boys. She's an actress, host and creates digital content for various outlets. She has a few projects in development right now, and you can currently see her on Awestruck showing off some fun 'Almost Perfect' mommy hacks.