Shorts? Check! Swimsuit? Check! Sandals? Check!
It may sound like you have everything you need for the perfect beach holiday (assuming you’re already in possession of a ticket to somewhere sunny) but have you thought about sun protection? There are lots of reasons why it’s one of the most important aspects of your holiday. The trouble with sun damage is that we don’t see it till it’s too late to do anything about it. Lots of people who discovered Spanish beaches in the 1970s are now paying the price with prematurely aged skin. But this doesn’t have to happen to you if you take suitable precautions.
Protecting the Head and Eyes
Let’s start right at the top. It’s important to wear a hat or cap when out in the sun. For the youngest sun-worshippers a UV protected hat with a flap to cover the neck will keep those delicate areas protected. A similar version in adult size can be useful for long hours in the sun. At other times, any head covering will help reduce the likelihood of sunstroke. And don’t forget to take a dip in the sea every so often to cool down. Pay special attention to your eyes and get a decent set of sunglasses for UVA and UVB protection.
Bikinis and swim shorts cut an attractive figure when lying on a sun lounger, but they won’t offer much protection from the sun’s rays. Be sure to pick a lounger that’s under an umbrella so you can get some shade from time to time. It’s also a good idea to wear a sun-protective shirt if you are going to do watersports, as almost any sunscreen will wear off after a few minutes. These are made of the same material as the children’s version and are an essential for a beach holiday.
Choosing a Sunscreen
Then, of course, there’s sunscreen – you can never have too much of this when holidaying in the sun. There’s a huge variety of products available from sticks to wipes to creams to sprays. It doesn’t matter which variety you choose, as long as you have some. Sunscreen wipes are especially handy when travelling with kids, who never want to stay still long enough for a full sun cream application. Whatever you use, be sure to cover all exposed areas and those that might become exposed. Pay attention to areas that are often forgotten like the tops of the feet and the ankles.
What About Your Face?
It’s worth paying special attention to your face as this is wear the most visible sun damage usually is. That’s because it’s the area that gets most exposure to sunlight throughout your life. The best approach is to use a high factor sunscreen on your holiday and a moisturiser with sun protection the rest of the year. That should keep your skin protected and avoid the worst kinds of sun damage.
Finally, don’t be misled into believing that if your skin is darker you don’t need to use sunscreen. While it’s true that the more melanin your skin has the more natural protection you have, darker skins are also susceptible to sun damage, so put that sunscreen on!
Ian Pressman is from Sunglasses Online, a UK firm providing sunglasses.
Images: Epsos.de/Chris Frewin/Flickr