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Do I really need sunscreen?

 
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Does sun really cause wrinkles and bad skin? I am not worried about burning. I never burn. But I'm outside every day and very tan. Getting some forehead wrinkles and rough skin...and a comment from a family member D: I've never worn sunscreen but do you think I'd need to? (natural of course)
 
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how old are you? my general answer is yes. for reference, a whole lot of cowboys who really spent years outside had a have a lot of little cancerous bits cut off their ears and noses in later years.
 
Almond Thompson
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XD not old enough to have wrinkles yet! wouldn't the sunscreen interfere with natural vitamin d absorption?
 
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I work outdoors, and have done so my entire adult life from rainforest to desert and mountains. I generally prioritize a sunhat and light long sleeves, which actually keep you cooler than being uncovered in the sun. If I am swimming or otherwise uncovered, I try to wear some mineral based sunscreen. I find it runs off in my eyes though if working, so thats another notch for a sun hat. I also like soaking my tilly hat with cold water for its cooling effect on the old brain box.
 
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greg mosser wrote:how old are you? my general answer is yes. for reference, a whole lot of cowboys who really spent years outside had a have a lot of little cancerous bits cut off their ears and noses in later years.



Former construction worker and see the same thing. Everyone wearing a baseball hat instead of a 3 foot sombrero…
And I’ve had cancer cut out of my shoulder twice, 2nd time it was DEEP - you Do Not Want.

At the very least a wide sun hat and long sleeve white cotton shirts for the wicking action…
 
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This is another of those things I struggle with. I can easily go from Caucasian to crustacean, in 15 minutes, flat. Yet, I hate commercial sunscreens and all the... stuff they put in them. So, when I know I'll be in the sun for any length or time (or if I'm in the tropics, even for a short time), I use a combo sunscreen/bug repellent lotion bar, that I make. It's very effective, with non-nano zinc oxide stepping in as more of a sunblock, than merely a screen. On a trip to Belize, I used mine for most of the day (though I missed my decolatage, in one of my applications, and it was apparent!), but our friend, who is about as fair as I am insisted she didn't want to use anything for a while, so she could "get a bit o' colour". In the same time - one afternoon - that I was using it, she wasn't, and still has the scars to show for it, while even my decolatage that had been missed the one time only got a bit pink. That was in '17.

If you're interested, I'll find & share my recipe. It makes quite a bit, packs & travels well, and it's entirely nontoxic.
 
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This is a question I have been wondering too, so I thank you Almond for starting this thread!
I burned my face and shoulders and arms a bit this spring. Not more than some redness but it got me thinking about sunscreens and hats.


Carla, please do share your recipe!
 
Carla Burke
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Saana Jalimauchi wrote:This is a question I have been wondering too, so I thank you Almond for starting this thread!
I burned my face and shoulders and arms a bit this spring. Not more than some redness but it got me thinking about sunscreens and hats.


Carla, please do share your recipe!



Ok, let me track it down, and I'll share it. It might take me a little while, because it's been a couple years since I've needed to make it, and I'm not sure which way/where I have it saved.
 
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Sun protection - absolutely.  This sunlight stuff not only can cause cancer, make us look old before our time, but it can do even worse harm

That said, sunscreen... I am not a fan.  I suspect the chemicals in the sunscreen do about the same amount of harm as sunlight while still letting enough sunlight through to cause damage.  

A better choice is to work inside during the height of the day (12-2pm) and to wear clothing that covers your skin while still allowing your body to breathe - I like linen or cotton best for this.  A lot of clothing can offer as much sun protection as regular sunscreen.  Darker dyes often add more protection, especially natural dyes like indigo.   You can even buy speciality cloth that has some science in it for sun protection.

A good sunhat is also helpful.  

As for Vitimine D absorbtion.  It depends on genetics and diet, but from what my doctors have told me, most of it is absorbed through the eyes.  This is contrary to what they taught me in school way back when, so I'm guessing they got more information since then.  
 
Saana Jalimauchi
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r ranson wrote:As for Vitimine D absorbtion.  It depends on genetics and diet, but from what my doctors have told me, most of it is absorbed through the eyes.  This is contrary to what they taught me in school way back when, so I'm guessing they got more information since then.  



You reminded me of something I read somewhere sometime that kind of made sense to me:

If a person is using sunglasses, the brain doesn’t get the message about the sunlight and therefore the skin does not know that it is time to produce melanin and other things to protect the skin from burning.

I didn’t do more research on that one because I have never been into sunglasses much, so it could be total bs.
 
r ranson
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Saana Jalimauchi wrote:

r ranson wrote:As for Vitimine D absorbtion.  It depends on genetics and diet, but from what my doctors have told me, most of it is absorbed through the eyes.  This is contrary to what they taught me in school way back when, so I'm guessing they got more information since then.  



You reminded me of something I read somewhere sometime that kind of made sense to me:

If a person is using sunglasses, the brain doesn’t get the message about the sunlight and therefore the skin does not know that it is time to produce melanin and other things to protect the skin from burning.

I didn’t do more research on that one because I have never been into sunglasses much, so it could be total bs.



There could be something to it.  I don't know if my doctors would agree with the cause, as they suggest I get full spectrum lights for winter and there's no need to wear short sleeves or expose my skin.  Just seeing the light triggers something about Vitime D production.  According to them.

Other things I've read include having enough healthy fats and cholesterol.  Sally Fallon's book goes into this in great detail about how diet and light interact.  

But I'm also fighting genetics so it's a bit trickier for me and it's not always easy to get a Vit D blood test here.  (I like measurable markers to help me know if I actually need to care about it)
 
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I'm always shocked when I visit my family in Australia at the number of people you pass in the street who have obviously had surgery to get facial cancerous moles removed. It's especially prevalent in the older generation. It's also really prevalent on the right arm of anyone doing distance driving. Open window, uncovered skin resting on the door, in direct sun day after day.

Personally, I dislike sunscreen - but I am careful about covering up when needed, doing small regular doses in the sun, and building up a tan gradually to avoid frying on the first hot day. If i were living in a hot country like Aus I would probably make more routine use of sunscreen.

It's also worth noting that the obsession with covering up and using sunscreen is largely responsible for the current ongoing vitamin D deficiency issues.
 
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Carla Burke wrote:So, when I know I'll be in the sun for any length or time (or if I'm in the tropics, even for a short time), I use a combo sunscreen/bug repellent lotion bar, that I make. It's very effective, with non-nano zinc oxide stepping in as more of a sunblock, than merely a screen.


This is a valid approach. I just returned from a regular dermatologist appointment, keeping an eye out for Things That Might Kill Me (with good reason). I mentioned that sunscreen doesn't agree with me. They suggested zinc oxide mixed with whatever moisturizing lotion I normally use as an alternative to the chemical stuff.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
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Michael Cox wrote:It's also worth noting that the obsession with covering up and using sunscreen is largely responsible for the current ongoing vitamin D deficiency issues.


Yes, the Vitamin D deficiency and covering up problem is a big deal here. It's caused by a thing called "Winter" which lasts 5+ months, during which benevolent Mother Nature carries out natural selection of plants, wild animals, and human animals. ;-)
 
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Michael Cox wrote:I'm always shocked when I visit my family in Australia at the number of people you pass in the street who have obviously had surgery to get facial cancerous moles removed. It's especially prevalent in the older generation. It's also really prevalent on the right arm of anyone doing distance driving. Open window, uncovered skin resting on the door, in direct sun day after day.


Certain more fair types tend to be more vulnerable to cancers. I've been playing that whack-a-mole game with skin cancer since the very first time I stepped foot in a dermatology office (before I was 30!), and I can attest to the driving business: i have one arm with lots of lesions and one that has zero.
Since moving to the semi-tropics (and having a whole load of melanomas removed) I've taken a really different attitude. I cover up everything, especially when it's hot, use hats, umbrellas, scarves, throws, wraps, and wear a button-up oxford shirt in the garden, along with a neckerchief, gloves, and a big old hat. When driving I always have a cardigan or scarf to cover up the one arm and side of my neck (here in Brazil, I have blackout film on my car windows, so it's not necessary, but when I'm elsewhere it is).  I run on a treadmill indoors, and am very careful about staying in the shade outdoors if I'm not totally covered. I am not obsessive about sunscreen, believe it or not, but it's because I know so little of me actually gets any sun.

I know in my case it's likely that my skin type and bad sunburns as a kid are responsible for the melanomas (nobody used sunblock when I was a kid), but I can visibly see the difference between my two arms, so I try not to create more problems for myself.
 
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Like Carla, I burn easily. I go from Santa Claus to lobster claws in one mid-day outing.

Yes the exposed areas versus neighboring covered areas (like my neckline vs. shoulder) are obviously wrinkled/different. Same on my partner.
My arms and neck (t-shirt tan pattern) are "tanned" and don't burn as easily, but still do in a long day outdoors. I dislike sunscreen and prefer to wear a floppy hat, long pants, and light colored long sleeves instead. I will wear sunscreen if I'll be out in the sun most of the day, or multiple days in a row... even the sunscreen only lasts so long, never mind sweating it away, and that lost protection (if not re-applied) adds up over say a three-day-weekend of gardening.

I've had too many debilitating sunburns in my youth to want to repeat that... blisters, peeling, unable to have things touch affected areas, bad headaches, bad.

There's a pretty famous photograph of a female trucker, you can see a stark contrast between the "in the cab" side and the "window" side of her face and arms.
 
Kenneth Elwell
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Oh, I almost forgot about natural skin oils and bathing... I notice an effect when I forego washing up with soap, versus when I have washed.
If I roll out of bed, toss on yesterday's clothes and go out to do gardening, I don't get as badly burned as when I shower and wash with soap, and go to a garden party/barbeque... comparable exposure, different skin conditions. I can almost feel the burning as it is happening with washed skin.
 
Almond Thompson
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Wow thank you everyone! Still though, my problem isn't with the burning-I'm worried about the wrinkles I won't mind looking old when I'm old but it's too early for that Thanks for the suggestions to wear long clothing and hats. I don't know though, I just feel like we need sun!
Good to know about the sunglasses!!!
I will check out Sally Fallon, I loooove Nourishing Traditions.
 
Almond Thompson
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Y'all are kind of freaking me out with the skin cancer stuff though...I wonder if something could prevent that besides sun blockage. Some kind of skin moisturizer?
 
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Moisturisers aren't going to stop the cancer-causing effects of UV on your skin cells. You need to block the stuff before it reaches them and the suggestions of hats and clothing are probably the best low-tech and low-ick methods you're going to find. Another thing to do is avoid being out in the sun during the peak irradiation hours. That's 10-2 or 9-3 local time (sun time, not daylight savings).

Lots of sunny places have an advantage in this regard: when it's most dangerous to be outdoors, it's also the least appealing from a heat perspective. Desert dwellers seek shade during the middle of the day and this is a good survival strategy for more than one reason. It's places like the temperate parts of Australia and NZ that are especially hazardous, because a sunny summer day here can still be pleasant and comfortable, lulling people into taking few precautions. We've also got the added problem of the Antarctic ozone hole, which is still a thing and when it breaks up in the spring patches of it drift north and can sit over us in November-December, just as it's getting really nice out.
 
Carla Burke
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Almond Thompson wrote:Wow thank you everyone! Still though, my problem isn't with the burning-I'm worried about the wrinkles I won't mind looking old when I'm old but it's too early for that Thanks for the suggestions to wear long clothing and hats. I don't know though, I just feel like we need sun!
Good to know about the sunglasses!!!



The very things that will protect you from the burns & cancers are exactly the things that will protect your skin from the rapid aging that sun exposure can cause.
 
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I love being outside, but the sun is not nice to my family.  I hate the greasy feeling and smell of sunscreen. Good reason to plant more trees!
 
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This is going against the grain, but I found this podcast episode about sunscreen fascinating. Basically, they said the ingredients in sunscreen are more dangerous than sun exposure, that people can build up their endurance to sun exposure, that the diet plays a crucial role in protecting us from the sun, and that clothing and coconut oil are preferable for sun protection than chemical sunscreen.
 
Almond Thompson
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Looks cool, Angel, I will give it a listen!
 
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This article from one of my favorite health writers that goes against the grain on a variety of topics mentions sunlight and how it's important for more than just vitamin D. Here's a snippet from it,

Sunlight

I believe one of the greatest disservices the dermatology profession has done to the world has been to spread an immense fear that the sun causes skin cancer (even though the most dangerous skin cancer, melanoma, is linked to a lack of sun exposure). This appears to have come about because the dermatology profession reinvented themselves as cancer fighters (which pays a lot), and part of establishing that cultural belief system revolved around neurotic rituals to avoid all sunlight. I think this is quite sad, because avoiding sunlight significantly increases your risk of death from many different cancers (and overall has a danger of the same magnitude as smoking).

One of the major misunderstandings about sunlight is that its only benefit is vitamin D production. Instead, it has a variety of other ones as well, including:

•Producing cholesterol sulfate.

•Producing nitric oxide.

•Directly creating liquid crystalline water.

Note: I have long wondered if some of the benefits attributed to vitamin D are actually due to it being correlated with the above three occurring.

Since sulfates are used by the body to create liquid crystalline water and maintain the physiologic zeta potential, this function is very important. Since cholesterol sulfate primarily resides in cell membranes (where it is recognized to have a "stabilizing role" for the cell membrane), it provides the critical role of coating the cell with sulfates.



It's certainly possible to get too much though, I can't imagine anyone thinks burning is a good thing. Besides the long term risks and the short term pain, I notice that I feel drained of energy if I get sunburnt. I don't use sunscreen and find that as long as I have enough of a tan I don't generally have to worry much about burning. I do tend to wear a hat when the sun is intense, more for my eyes than for my skin though. My hair is long so it keeps the sun off my neck and upper spine.

Also, I notice that my general state of health and energy makes a big difference toward how I react to the sun. The skin is connected to the body as a whole. I especially notice a strong connection between circulation and sun sensitivity.
 
Almond Thompson
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wow I am loving all different sides!
 
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Sunscreen is must. You can't stop aging but you can slow down the process by doing little things. Applying suncreen while going out helps in protecting your skin from harmful UV radiations and sun burn.
 
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I am blonde but not the "Germanic" type from Northern Germany. My family tans but never burns.
When I avoided sun or covered up it was more to prevent headache than a sunburn. I love warmth, I love the sun, and I hate sunscreen (the smell, the feel, the way it creeps into your eyes).

That being said, I developed an itchy spot on my cheek this April. The dermatologist told me it was actinic keratosis which can turn into "white skin cancer" when untreated. So I got the first treatment and of course now I use a high sunscreen factor, use a hat and cover up my arms. I prefer to wear loose pants and long sleeves anyway because I find them more comfortable so that at least is not a big change.

And on the wrinkles: Yes, absolutely. My neighbour who is my senior always uses sunscreen in her face and she has gorgeous skin. Or look at acresses like Cate Blancett.
 
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Phil Stevens wrote: Lots of sunny places have an advantage in this regard: when it's most dangerous to be outdoors, it's also the least appealing from a heat perspective. Desert dwellers seek shade during the middle of the day and this is a good survival strategy for more than one reason. It's places like the temperate parts of Australia and NZ that are especially hazardous, because a sunny summer day here can still be pleasant and comfortable, lulling people into taking few precautions.



Tell me about it.

I spend 10 months in Senegal and got a couple of small burns where my t-shirt was lose around my neck. Full brim hat, long sleeves and long trousers every time I go outside.

Fast forward to a week and a half ago on the Welsh border and I'm still peeling after cycling to a friends place and spending all afternoon in their garden. Shorts and no hat led to a lot of red skin.

(Although I very rarely use sunscreen)
 
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I tan easily but ironically, need to remain covered up in the sun as I get heat rash very easily and have to avoid the use of sunscreens as they acerbate the heat rash.

Sunscreen on my face is avoided as when I perspire, the lotion stings my eyes.

So, long sleeves and floppy hats it is. Linen and pure cotton are my preferred coverup garments.

For me, it is not a matter of needing sunscreen, quite the opposite, I cannot use it.

In my youth, we used to slather baby oil over ourselves and in my early twenties, developed the white patches on my arms that can develop into skin cancer. A timely reminder to cover up.

Our antipodean sun is fierce😉
 
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I feel that protection from the sun is very important.

Big hats and long sleeve sheets offer protection.

My recommendation is to use a clay product to cover the other areas.

I would suggest making a salve from a mixture of plantain, self-heal, and red clover.

For the oil, you could just use what oil you normally use like olive or or coconut oil.

If you have clay soil you could use that for the based, just mix it use daily then spread where you want protection.

Avocado might work in place of the clay.

Just start experimenting and see what you can come up with.



https://permies.com/t/179980/personal-care/sunscreen-plant-based
 
Megan Palmer
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Saana Jalimauchi wrote:

Carla, please do share your recipe!



Carla Burke wrote:Ok, let me track it down, and I'll share it. It might take me a little while, because it's been a couple years since I've needed to make it, and I'm not sure which way/where I have it saved.



Carla, is this the recipe?  It is in the thread that Anne linked to

https://permies.com/t/179980/personal-care/sunscreen-plant-based#1417241
 
Carla Burke
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Megan Palmer wrote:

Saana Jalimauchi wrote:

Carla, please do share your recipe!



Carla Burke wrote:Ok, let me track it down, and I'll share it. It might take me a little while, because it's been a couple years since I've needed to make it, and I'm not sure which way/where I have it saved.



Carla, is this the recipe?  It is in the thread that Anne linked to

https://permies.com/t/179980/personal-care/sunscreen-plant-based#1417241


Yes! Yes, it IS!! Megan, thank you SO MUCH!! I've been hunting for it, here at home, ever since I offered to post it, with NO success! I was getting worried, because I need to make more, myself, too.
 
Carla Burke
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Anne Miller wrote:I feel that protection from the sun is very important.

Big hats and long sleeve sheets offer protection.

My recommendation is to use a clay product to cover the other areas.

I would suggest making a salve from a mixture of plantain, self-heal, and red clover.

For the oil, you could just use what oil you normally use like olive or or coconut oil.

If you have clay soil you could use that for the based, just mix it use daily then spread where you want protection.

Avocado might work in place of the clay.

Just start experimenting and see what you can come up with.



https://permies.com/t/179980/personal-care/sunscreen-plant-based



Thank you, Anne! Not sure how I missed this, but I'm SO GLAD you found it! I couldn't remember whether I'd shared that one here, before.
 
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I'm a 50-year-old white freckly woman who lives in the mountains of southern Mexico. I burned several times in my teens, but haven't in many years (except for the occasional small patch that got missed) but I only use sunscreen once or twice a year when I want to swim in the middle of the day. Otherwise, I just cover-up. I've got plenty of loose white cotton or linen long-sleeved shirts and lots of wide-brimmed straw hats. Missed spots have been wearing a shirt that was too short so when I was bent over weeding there was a strip of skin between the shirt and my pants that got burnt. or the backs of my hands--started wearing gloves, or the back of my neck--hello bandanas! It's important to choose loose breathable fabrics so you don't get overheated.
Even on most trips down to the beach, I don't use sunscreen. When we go, we camp on the beach, I wake up at sunrise, swim until 9:30 am or so, then get the heck out of the sun until it's starting to go down. Swim again until dark then dinner and off to sleep.

As for wrinkles--stay hydrated, both inside and out.
 
Melissa Ferrin
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Oh I forgot to add, that the locals around me, who are fairly dark-skinned and also don't burn, all look really young until suddenly they don't. You generally can't tell if someone is 13 or 33.  But likewise, you can't tell if someone is 40 or 60.  They spend a lot of time in the sun. So I tend to think it does age you.
 
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I stopped using sunscreen many years ago.
First of all, my vitamin D levels were very very low, second I don’t like the chemicals that’s in most of them, plus my allergies prevents me from using many too. Third, I find, that if I dress correctly, I don’t need it.
I mostly wear Historical inspired clothes. Long skirts of the Victorian walking skirts style, are comfortable, protects your knees when kneeling, and grass seeds and sticky bores, don’t stick to it as easily as on other clothes. They also provide shade for my legs, so I don’t overheat. Demin is a great material or broad cloth. Linen are great too.
For tops, I wear long sleeved Cotten blouses with high neck. White reflects the light, so I stay cooler. I wear a straw bonnet over a scarf, to protect my head, and gloves on my hands. Dressed like this, I can be in my garden for hours without overheating, and it will get very hot here during the summer. I have been thinking about getting a parasol to give extra shade, especially if I am using my iPad outside. While I don’t overheat, my iPad does 😂.
 
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I use mineral sunscreen (zinc oxide) on my face if I’ll be outside for longer than 20 minutes. There are no chemicals in it at all. It is greasy and it makes my face temporarily whiteish, but it is worth it to prevent burning, freckles, wrinkles and especially cancer.

I have family members that don’t burn and still get cancer. I think the Vitamin D conversation is interesting. The eye thing sounds pretty legit to me. But if my choices were getting Vitamin D from the sun only and possibly getting cancer, or using a good supplement and making sure to eat fat from grass fed animals to get dietary Vitamin D, I’d choose the latter. Chemo and radiation are certainly worse than swallowing capsules and feeling like I’m not being “natural” enough.
I also agree with covering up in the sun and I highly recommend researching astaxanthin and sun.
 
I don't get it. A whale wearing overalls? How does that even work? It's like a tiny ad wearing overalls.
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