Even the most diehard sun worshippers admit that you can get too much of a good thing – just ask anyone suffering from sunburn or heat stroke. We all know that overexposure to the sun is bad for our health and our looks, and yet it’s all too easy to forget this when lying on an exotic beach or hiking up a mountain in the middle of a national park – or to flat out ignore it when vying to achieve the perfect tan.
Here are three tips to ensure that your skin stays protected the whole time you’re on the road:
Stock up on sun cream
Sun cream is not something to skimp on, so forget about saving luggage space and buy something big and bulky. This has the double benefit of both ensuring that you’ll never run out or be tempted to scrimp on sun cream and will also psychologically trick you into using it generously in order to justify buying and bringing it.
Most medical experts recommend using a sun cream that’s at least SPF30 (although going higher certainly won’t hurt) and protects against both UVA and UVB rays (these are sometimes called ‘broad-spectrum’ sun creams). It’s also worthwhile to invest in a face cream and lip balm with built-in SPF for everyday use.
Cover up and stay in the shade
That tired old advice about covering up and staying out of sun when it’s at its hottest still holds water, I’m afraid. When traveling somewhere hot, a wide-brimmed hat and scarf to whip round your shoulders when the temperature starts rising around midday can be a godsend.
Likewise, although it can be tempting to wear your tiniest shorts and t-shirts at all times in an effort to maximize tanning, this might not be the best idea if you’re heading out for a long day’s sightseeing.
Being baked by the sun can sap your energy and ruin you day. If it’s boiling out, wearing loose-fitting clothes in light fabrics that cover you up is a lot more comfortable – not to mention often means that you blend in more with the savvy locals. Save the tanning for the beach, when you can keep an eye on yourself without distractions. Which brings us to our next tip…
Listen to your body
This is important at all times, but especially when you’re purposefully tanning. When you’re in the sun, check in with yourself regularly. Ask yourself how you’re feeling, and react accordingly.
Skin beginning to feel a bit burny? Slap on some more sun cream. Thirsty? Go get a drink. Weather getting too hot to handle? Go find yourself somewhere nice and shady.
This may sound simple, but it’s easy to miss the telltale signs of too much sun exposure when you’re doing other things or merely don’t want to stop what you’re doing. Make it a habit to periodically ask yourself and anyone else you’re with how they’re doing.