You pine for summer all year long. By the time spring rolls around, you look into your trunk and realize you left the flip-flops and beach chairs in there all winter. Your fantasy vacation is a trip to “the islands” – any one will do, so long as you can relax in the direct sun on a nice beach with a cold beer or frozen pina colada in your hand. You are a sun worshiper, and you are not alone.
Tips for Protecting Your Skin Against the Summer Sun
Many of us love how we look when we have a nice, glowing tan. There was a time when a tan was truly essential for anyone who wanted to look sexy. Tans are still popular, but the doctors and scientists studying the effects of UV rays on our skin are really bringing down the party and raining on our….well, beach day.
Even if you tan easily and only rarely burn, it is always a good idea to take care of your skin in order to keep it soft, supple, youthful, and less wrinkled in the years to come. People come in all shades, but all of us can benefit from taking some precautions in the sun. Here are some pointers.
- Wear sunglasses with UV-ray protection
These act as a sunscreen for the eyes. We often take our eyes and our vision for granted. People with blue and light green eyes are the most susceptible to eye damage from sun exposure. The eyes can become dry and very uncomfortable. Sunglasses also minimize the risk of being burned on the area around your eyes. Often people apply sun block to most of their face, but they avoid the very sensitive skin closest to the eyes in order to avoid the sun block running into the eyes in the hot sun. Sunglasses can help by ensuring your eyes and the surrounding sensitive skin is protected. You can find sunglasses with “UV ray protection” labels in drug stores and convenience stores, which is great if you are on the road and you’ve forgotten your pair at home.
Be especially careful on boats
Whether you are kayaking or standing by the rail of a large sailboat and taking in the view, you should know that the water surrounding you is not absorbing all of the sunlight, but instead, it is deflecting some of the light back upward toward the sky. When you are out at sea or hanging out on a dock, you are absorbing far more UV rays than when you are on land. Keep this in mind and reapply sun block regularly. If possible, retreat to the cabin in larger boats from time to time or, if in a smaller vehicle, be sure to wear a hat with a visor.
Remember to reapply your sun block when you finish swimming or if you have been sweating
Just because a product says “waterproof”, “sweat-proof”, or claims to be ideal for sports, you are not invincible for the rest of the day after your first application. A general rule of thumb is to distrust these labels! If you’ve just gone swimming, even for a few minutes, and you plan on drying yourself off, you will inevitably wipe off some of your sun block in the process.
Sun-proofing your nose is not enough
Many people who tan easily simply apply protection to their noses and that’s that. While this is quite tempting when you are running out the door to make the most of a nice day, it does not give you adequate protection.
Everyone ages, but you can slow down the process
Everyone will, at one age, develop some quantity of wrinkles, smile lines and the like. This process creeps up on most people! Freckles can appear on some people and become darker and form blotchier patterns over the years. But there are older people who have soft, slightly saggy skin, and those whose skin has taken on the appearance of thick leather. The first outcome is preferable to the second! The point is to really take a close look at people who claim they are not sensitive to the sun, and compare their statements with their skin quality. Often these are the same people who did not face the fact that they would age and just assumed their young skin would stay that way. Use sun block regularly in order to slow down the aging process.
Drink lots of water and get plenty of vitamins
There is a temptation to drink alcohol while at the beach. We are relaxing, taking in the scenery, and often free of time-restrictions when we have the occasion to lay on a beach for the day. If you drink more alcohol than water, however, you can easily become dehydrated. It is important to stay hydrated on a regular basis in order to keep your skin healthy. Take advantage of fruits that are in season in your area. The antioxidants from fruit can help your body fight free-radicals and consequently slow the aging process.
After sun exposure, apply aloe vera to your skin
Aloe is a miracle cure for burns. Often we get home from a pleasant day at the beach, and within an hour, we have a sun burn. This happens because the radiation we absorb in the form of UV rays does not burn us immediately; it burns us as it is leaving our skin later on.
These are just a few tips worth keeping in mind during the summer months. It never hurts to be cautious when taking care of your skin. You will thank yourself later in life when you still have a great complexion!