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Since 1987, October 11th has been an important day for the LGBTQIA+ community. This year is the 31st anniversary of National Coming Out Day—a day that serves as a way for LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals to celebrate themselves, each other, and the people in their lives who support and love them for who they are.
To highlight this day, we asked one of our own, Eric Lerma, to share their coming out journey, what coming out means to them, and how living their truth helped them to empower others.
I am so indebted to this community. I have been afforded an infinite amount of lessons, virtues, and affirmations–more than I could have ever hoped to acquire. I would say that I’m most grateful for my ability to understand and navigate shame. I came out in a small, country town in the Central Valley of California. The community was small, and most were deeply closeted, and many of us had a multitude of shared experiences when it came to how we were treated by our peers. While I wouldn’t wish what some of us went through unto anyone, I’ve learned how to help people through their shame. I’ve learned how to empower and instill confidence in people when they maybe feel at their lowest, when they feel they don’t have a place in the world. I’ve learned to actively practice compassion and empathy. The LGBTQIA+ Community has empowered me to empower others.
The timing of my coming out wasn’t calculated or given too much thought, nor was it a particularly joyous occasion. For lack of better phrasing, I was very tired when I came out; exhausted even. So much of my energy was spent trying to keep my head down and not respond to any antagonistic behavior; the obscene gestures and comments in the locker room, the pointed questions attempting to get me to admit or confess my sexuality, being closely followed and taunted while I walked home from school, etc. I had been subject to and endured so many years of this harassment that most of my time in middle and high school was spent in a major depression. I remember there being a pretty distinct numbness at the time. This ultimately resulted in a sense of apathy regarding what people thought of me and a feeling of having nothing left to lose.
So I started telling the truth. I didn’t dodge the questions, I responded to the crass comments without filter or hesitation, and owned my identity. Pretty shortly after, most of the harassment and pestering subsided. It was no longer a secret that people could use against me.
I would start by saying that we shouldn’t use the word or words familial to “preferred” when it comes to Pronouns. It implies that it’s optional and subjective to each individual that person interacts with, which they’re not. You can prefer Coke over Pepsi. You can prefer Slack over email. But you don’t have a preference when it comes to your identity. That is concrete, objective, not up for debate, and should be respected as such. So, when it comes to asking someone about their pronouns, ask, “What are your Pronouns?”
“Coming out” is synonymous with living your truth. It is an act of self-care, self-love. It opens the door to self-discovery. It is one of the greatest gifts a person can give themselves.
First thing’s first, do it on your terms. Come out in a way that’s respectful and reflective of who you are or who you want to be and do so with confidence.
Second, give yourself the time you need. You aren’t on anyone’s schedule or agenda but your own. There is no right or wrong time to come out.
Third and lastly, don’t get hung up on the labels. Sexuality and gender are fluid and exist on a spectrum. You don’t have to speak in absolutes or choose an identifier. Your identity is yours and yours alone, and it is subject to evolution and change.
Summer is officially here, and with that, there are so many fun activities that will motivate you to get outside to stay in shape and strive for those post-quarantine fitness goals. But before you decide to get outside to enjoy some walking, yoga, swimming, or hiking, remember these best practice skincare habits to protect your skin from common skin concerns, such as, sunburns, chafing, and excessive dryness.
Here, board-certified Dermatologist, Dr. Bottiglione, shares some advice to help your skin stay healthy as you embark into the great outdoors.
When going outside, the sun is going to be your biggest culprit for damaging your skin. While the sun boosts benefits like vitamin D production, take notice when your skin is overexposed to the sun’s harmful rays as it becomes dangerous. When overexposed to direct sunlight, the skin is irritated, causing sunburns, dryness, and sensitivity that can increase the chances for wrinkles and skin cancer as we age.
Luckily, staying inside when it’s so pleasant outside is not the only skincare alternative to avoid the sun’s damaging rays. Here are a few simple tips to prep your skin before stepping outside.
Opt to protect your skin with a clinical-grade sunblocking lotion of 15 SPF or higher.
“Anytime you go outside, you need to apply sunscreen to your skin,” advises Dr. B. “Ensure you apply sunscreen to the full body and reapply often. In the morning, after cleansing your face, is the best time to apply.” He recommends a spray for oily skin, or the Dermatologist’s Choice Sunscreen Enhanced Moisturizer for dry to combination skin types that needs a little extra hydration.
The key is the more intentional you are about proactively protecting your summer skin, the healthier it will be. It may sound simple, but your skin will be happier when you take a preventive approach rather than a reactive approach—for example, applying the sunscreen moisturizer before a walk to help to avoid the treatment of a sunburn after. When prepping your bag for the fun day ahead, make sure to add sunscreen, a hat, and plenty of water.
Now the real excitement begins! However you decide to get your fitness outdoors, we have the skincare routine you need or a carefree and healthy day.
Deep breath. Like our favorite flow, these skincare tips will keep our mind—and our skin—at ease. If you take your yoga practice outdoors, wear an SPF shirt, and lay your mat under a nicely shaded tree to help shield you from excessive sun exposure.
“Avoiding direct sunlight and wearing protective clothing is smart to protect your skin from sun damage. Even if you are going for a relaxing walk or doing just a few sun salutations. Staying out of the direct sunlight will reduce your risk of sun damage and wrinkles.” - Dr. B
Swimming is one of the best cardio and strength training workouts, while also an enjoyable activity during the summer. Whether you are swimming in open water or laps in the pool, the excess amount of water with exposure to pool chemicals and environmental pollutants can cause skin irritation and dryness. To keep your skin hydrated and protected, Dr. B. recommends applying the Dermatologist’s Choice Pre-Bath Oil to your skin before entering the water. This will seal your skin’s protective barrier to avoid skin irritation from chemicals and debris. He adds, “The Pre-Bath Oil is what I give to all my patients with eczema or dry skin. It is the only thing that will protect and also deeply hydrate the skin.” Just apply this serum before you put on your sunscreen, and you're good to go!
With warm temperatures during the summer months, it’s the perfect time for hiking and exploring the mountainous outdoors. It is essential to take the necessary steps to avoid your skin becoming sunburnt, irritated, or breaking out. “Wearing a hat with a large brim that will shade your face and neck is key. A baseball cap is just not enough for the sun protection you need. After your hike, it is important to clean your face and pores of sweat, dirt, and toxins with Dermatologist’s Choice Glycolic Peel Cleansing Pads to avoid breakouts from occurring,” Dr. B. warns. Keep them in your bag for easy cleansing after a hike.
One of the biggest skin concerns cyclists or runners usually bring to dermatologists is chafing. Even if you’re just cruising along the seaside or taking a cycling class, those tight clothes and friction can cause some intense irritation and redness. “When you have an issue with chafing, you need to protect your skin. You need armor over the skin. Beeswax, for example, is thick to coat the skin and protect it. Another effective option is the hydrating Dermatologist’s Choice Pre-Bath Oil. For best results, moisturize your skin, and then add a piece of clothing to cover it (that is actually like armor),” Dr. B. shares. Are you a runner? Feel free to use this tip too before your next mile or 30.
At the end of your activity, the real results of that skin preparation set in. But sometimes, you need a little extra support afterwards. After any good workout, cleansing off the sweat, dirt, toxins, and irritant is paramount. Dermatologist Choice pH Balanced Cleanser helps to gently but effectively remove sweat, oil, and restore the skin’s natural pH levels.
Did you end up getting a sunburn, or is your skin dry from the elements? Soothe with the Pre-Bath Oil with natural oils like sunflower and jojoba oil for deep hydration and healing.
“Sun damage can manifest in multiple ways. Most often, you will notice a sunburn first, which can then lead to irritated skin—and over time, sun damage increases the appearance of wrinkles.” For safe measure, at night regenerate sun-damaged skin with Dermatologist's Choice Ultra Anti-Aging Cream with 15% non-neutralized glycolic acid to your skin. This powerful dermatology treatment rebuilds the collagen and exfoliates fine lines, sunspots, and acne on the skin. “Do not apply the Ultra Anti-Aging Cream on a sunburn or irritated skin,” Dr. B. shares. These are long-term habits to aid in maintaining your best skin health.
Capture your best skin with everything you need this summer with the Dermatologist’s Choice Skin Kit, and get 20% off your order with code MB20 at www.dermchoice.com.