I recently read a passage from my book Love at First Plight, in which my main character, Irys Godeleva, said the following:
“…the sun came out from behind a fluffy white cloud. It felt warm and natural on my skin, and the threat of a looming freckle drew me from the enchantment of the pages.”
What was her next move? She reached for her parasol! I wrote that passage 14 years ago. A year after I was first diagnosed with rosacea symptoms. For 14 years, I have read, reread, edited, and proofed that chapter and never once did I realize that Irys was trying to tell me about a practical and pretty way to protect my skin from the sun.
Somehow, I managed to write a character who is smarter than I am! It’s no wonder her nickname is “Clever One”. If only I was worthy of such a name. I’ll just have to keep trying.
I may not be as clever as she is, but at least I am smart enough to take action when I finally learn a lesson. This summer, I’ve started making use of my very pretty parasol which, embarrassingly enough, I’ve owned for a decade and have never used for anything other than room décor. Oh, the shame!
Parasols are very practical sun protection and can help with rosacea symptoms.
At first, I thought that carrying a parasol would be a pain in the behind and that it would make me feel like a weirdo. I have certain anxiety issues that make it difficult for me to do anything that will have me stand out in public (it’s a long story that I won’t get into, here), so the last thing that I want to do is make a spectacle of myself. But when I actually gave it a whirl, I found that the experience was far better than I’d expected.
First of all, I felt pretty. I bought my parasol in Chinatown in Toronto. It’s a lavender purple with little flowers along one side, with light blue “spokes” and a bamboo handle. It’s not just a rain umbrella (which can be quite pretty, though I don’t happen to own a nice one). It’s a fashion accessory!
Using the parasol meant that I could walk to a friend’s house instead of driving, while still being shaded from the sun. I didn’t have to wear sunscreen, a large brimmed hat, or protective clothing. That was all important to me because it was very hot and humid outside and I was going to attend a dinner for which I didn’t feel like having hat-head or that gunky sunscreen feeling on my skin.
The only downside that I could see to using the parasol would have been if it were windy. Fortunately, it was not. There was a bit of a breeze, but nothing that would yank the parasol out of my hands or cause it to flip inside out.
The parasol is a great fashion accessory!
Now that I’ve started using my parasol, I’ve found myself browsing for new ones on eBay and other online shops. I want options! The good news is that there are lots of them. There are ones that are meant to be very pretty and there are others that have a black interior that are meant to provide you with much fuller coverage from the sun. It feels like shopping for a new handbag – so many options, styles and functions!
I’ve decided not to overdo it, but I’m happy to have a couple of pretty one for a short walk down the street, and one that is larger and designed more specifically for UV protection, for extra UV blocking to make my sunscreen more effective if I head to a patio party or a beach where I’ll be sitting outside for a while.
I never thought that my rosacea symptoms would lead me to want to start a new fashion trend, but that’s certainly what seems to be happening! I think that everyone can benefit from this one, too. Not just rosacea sufferers.
After all, it gives us another great summer accessory beyond handbags and sunglasses, and it’s good for preventing premature aging, skin cancer, sun damage and spots, and a whole spectrum of different skin conditions.
Not bad for something that is essentially a decorative umbrella! Thanks Irys, I owe you one.