Sunburn Prevention Tips

No one likes talking about sunburn prevention, but if you spend much time on the beach at all, sooner or later you will get a sunburn. Part of vacationing at the beach is catching some rays. Even if you are not so concerned about getting a tan, being out on a beach and enjoying all its activities, by default, means you have some sun coming your way. If you are not careful, sunburn could soon follow, so knowing about sunburn prevention is essential.

Sunburn Prevention 101

When it comes to sunburn, there are varying degrees ranging from just a little pink, to full out sun-poisoning that may even be accompanied by heatstroke. No degree of a burn is much fun. Even a light one can cause the burnt area to sting for a couple of days. If you have never had much of a burn, I can tell you it is no fun. Everything from wearing a shirt to taking a shower can feel like you are on fire. When you go back outside, the warm air or heat from the sun stings. A bad enough burn can ruin your vacation, and severe heatstroke can sometimes be deadly. Since even beach veterans get burned sometimes, I thought I would offer some tips on sunburn prevention & dealing with sunburn

Two of the biggest variables which determine how you look after being at the beach are amount of time actually spent in the sun, and the application of sunscreen

Time In The Sun -

Tropical sun is a powerful force. Even an overcast day can leave you with a bad burn. Some of the worst burns I have seen occurred on overcast days. You see, the longer you spend in the sun, the more likely you are to get burned. On overcast days, people tend to take this fact for granted and either stay out too long, or neglect the sunscreen. You see, being out in the sun is like being in microwave, it is not the lightbulb in the back that cooks you, but the UV rays that you don’t see that do the work. Just like with food, the more time you spend in the oven, the more cooked you will be. This means that being conscious of how much time you have spent outside is crucial.

Recently, I was visiting my sister and her family in Tampa. On Saturday morning, about 10:30, I went out for short relaxing swim. Shortly after, my mom came out to talk for awhile. Then my nephew came out for some water basketball. Quickly we were joined by my younger nephew and his friends. Finally I had enough, and called for a break. It was now 1pm. I had been out in the sun with no protection for 2 1/2hrs. Even though it was morning sun, I still had a fair burn. It stung somewhat for 3 days. In my case, I had no sunscreen on, but many people get burned even while using sunscreen , simply by staying out too long.

Improper Use of Sunscreen -

Have you ever used sunscreen, and still gotten a sun burn? There could be a couple of reasons for this. As I said too long out in the sun will do that. You gotta respect the sun.

Another reason is failure to reapply the sunscreen frequently enough. Some folks think that just slapping on some sunscreen before you head out is enough. Wrong!! The guidelines I would recommend is to reapply about every hour and a half, especially if you have just spent awhile in the water. Do this even If you are using protection that says it is waterproof. (I have yet to use one that was waterproof enough).

Another recommendation is to use an appropriate level of SPF sunscreen. There are all kinds of things you can purchase for you time in the sun ranging from tanning oil that has no protection, to white cream that has such a high SPF that you could create a solar eclipse with it. Neither of these extremes is very useful. I generally prefer a spray on oil with an SPF of 12 and a little bronzer. I found that anything over an SPF of 25 is more like paste than protection. If you are very fair skinned though then a 25 is probably about where you want to be (at least until you get a little tan). In the end it is better to be cautious then burnt. Remember reapply.

One additional item in this area, it is not really sunburn prevention, but it is important. Lately, studies are showing links between sunscreens with Vitamin A, and skin cancer. For now at least, look at your labels and consider avoiding these sunscreens.

One last recommendation to avoid a burn – SHADE.

When going out, bring an umbrella to plant in the sand or rent a cabana to give you a place to get out of the sun for a while. This will give you a break from the heat and a chance to enjoy another benefit of the beach – relaxation. Shade is the best sunburn prevention tool. Finally, remember to bring a shirt/cover-up and a hat. They provide you with extra shade for when you are walking around and can prolong your fun in the sun.

After The Sun -

In general, you should always use some moisturizer on your skin when you come out of the sun. Yes guys, you too. It doesn't have to be anything fancy, just some over-the-counter, unscented skin creme will usually do. However, If you have been burned, Aloe is absolutely essential. Some come with lanacane to ease the burning. I personally like this. There are lots home remedies that help too, but Aloe, applied to the burn 2 or 3 times a day, is essential.

All that being said, millions of people spend their vacations on the Florida beaches every year, so, a sunburn is avoidable and a great tan is attainable. You just have to respect the sun, and learn some sunburn prevention tips so you know how to protect yourself, and now you know.

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