Aveeno is on a mission to promote healthy habits with its Road to Healthy Skin tour. The tour will be in different cities throughout July, August and September to educate the public about the dangers of sun exposure and promote the use of sun protection. The Tour bus (a 38-foot RV with two exam rooms) will provide free, full-body skin exams by local dermatologists, free sunscreen samples, and you can drop off your empty AVEENO lotion tubes to be sent to TerraCycle! $0.02 for each tube collected on the tour will be donated to the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Unfortunately, I didn’t find out about this until the tour passed Boston and Cambridge. But as a melanoma survivor, I still wanted to post this.

One day I noticed a mole on my inner ankle. Never remember seeing it before. I ignored it for a while. I’m a mom, who has time to call a doctor for yourself, plus I didn’t have a current dermatologist. You know. All the lame excuses we moms use. A while passes and I finally found a dermatologist and figured I should get it checked just in case. When I called in April 2007, the next available appointment was in August. As the receptionist checked other locations and for cancellations I debated “Should I tell her that this is an emergency? No, it’s probably nothing. I’ll wait.” Luckily, there just happened to be a cancellation for that Friday so I took the appointment.

At the doctor’s office, I told him that I noticed this mole a while ago and honestly had no idea if I had one there previously. Either way, it definitely was not this big. I would have known about it. So he took a biopsy. After about 2 weeks I hadn’t heard anything and was about to call. Meanwhile, still thinking “If I haven’t heard that probably means it’s nothing.” It was a Friday afternoon, right before Mother’s Day and the Dermatologist called. It was melanoma. The reason it took so long to get back to me – they sent the sample for a second opinion to an expert in Boston.

Lucky for me, we caught it early. However, I didn’t know that right away. For a month I lived with the fact that it might have spread to my lymph nodes. Melanoma runs the gamut in severity – it can be “nothing” all the way to , “let’s just make you comfortable” I did have surgery on my ankle to remove a large part of tissue in that area. I was on crutches for 6 weeks during the summer, with a 5yo and twin 3 yo!

I never thought this was a possibility for me. I am Armenian so my skin is not super pale. I have always tanned. Yes I did burn a few times as a kid. I guess that was enough for me. Now I wear sunscreen ALL the time, along with hats and clothing to cover more of my skin. And I avoid the sun completely when I can. So do my children.

The Environmental Working Group has a study on the safest sunscreens. To see the results, click here. This is a tricky one for me. I feel like in this case, my and my children’s risk of developing melanoma is greater than what might be caused by a risky toxin in sunscreen. I feel like my best defense is to avoid the sun and use clothing, umbrellas, and hats as protection instead of relying solely on any sunscreen. The sunscreen I do use is what several dermatologists have told me to use. I am hoping that I am not exposing myself and my family to something else. But you make decisions and trade offs all the time on what is best for you.

But back to Aveeno! I think what they are doing is fantastic. I love that they have teamed up with TerraCycle to upcycle their product tubes. They will also accept any brand of cosmetic or beauty tube. Should Upcycle It! add this brigade?


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