The age of the super tan is over. Sun safety is an essential to a happy long lived outdoor life. Too much sun leads to skin damage, pigmentation and in the worst case but not infrequent scenario, skin cancer. Nothing feels better than getting out into the sun especially after a long winter but thinking ahead and preparing yourself by taking a few easy steps is important. Here is a check list of must dos and don’t for staying safe in the sun for a long healthy life that should come to you as naturally as jumping into the surf.
The hardest thing for beach bunnies or sun lovers is staying out of the sun but it is actually advisable to limit the time you spend in its rays. Try to avoid long periods of full exposure during midday or between 10am and 4pm. That may seem like the very best time to hit the beach but limit time spent directly in the sun over this period.
Sunscreen is always top of everyone’s list when thinking sun protection. But for it to work you have to apply it. ‘Buy the sunscreen, use the sunscreen’ should be your mantra. It is important to get a sunscreen you like using. Smell, texture, greasiness are all reasons people ‘forget’ to apply. Shop around and get one you like. Then be sure you put it on before you go out into the sun, a minimum of twenty minutes ahead is best.
Apply it fairly thickly and thoroughly so that it soaks into the skin. A quick swipe over your arms and legs is not going to do it. Ideally your screen should be PVA and Vitamin A (retinyl palmitate) free. There are now plenty of titanium and zinc based products which are just as effective and possibly better for your long term health. Current thinking is SPF 30 is sufficient, plus it contains less potentially nasty chemicals and people are more likely to reapply which is also essential.
Along with the sunscreen always have a good pair of sunglasses handy. Fortunately, these are an acceptable fashion accessory. Eye damage and cataracts are a real health risk to people like surfers who spend long periods out in the sun. A hat can seem like a bit of nuisance but just take time and think of the premature wrinkles you are avoiding for just a bit of ‘hat hair’. A hat with a 360 degree brim is best so visors and caps if worn should be done so only if you are in the sun for a short time. Make sure the hat is secure against sea breezes so that you do not just carrying it around.
Fashionistas may want to live in the string bikini but loose cotton clothing can give up to 50SPF protection. Cover up in cotton or linen beach clothing in light colors. Designers create endless beach wear every season to suit all styles and ages. A parasol or sun umbrella can be useful when walking to and from a car and there are some attractive ones being made.
Getting into the shade has become much easier. There has been a revolution in shelters in recent years. Parks and beaches are now covered with tents, gazebos and beach shelters. If you thinking of a day outside with friends and have a bit of man power then a large gazebo is definitely the thing to have by the barbecue. Beach shelters come in a different sizes and are super easy to carry and erect – creating your own private sun hideaway for a post swim snooze.
Finally drink lots of water and keep hydrated!
Are you staying safe in the sun for a long healthy life?