Tuesday, July 23, 2013
Sun Protection Tips: From a Carolina Beach Traveler
Every visit to Kiawah Island usually involves a painful lesson in sunburn. These “ouch” moments always return to rear their ugly head despite bringing adequate supplies and varieties of sun block and sunscreens. While lotions are most common, I will pause and give kudos to the sunscreen manufacturers for coming out with canned “sprays” that make application a slam dunk time saver. These easy spray-on applications go on evenly and oily messes are avoided. The process is great for families as kids can be lined up and sprayed in a matter of a minute. The spray on style of sunscreen also makes it easier to spray one’s own back when there is no assistance available. That being said, we still packed our thick 50 spf lotion as “back up”. The lotion is much cheaper, but I will still gladly spend the extra money to get the spray on stuff. Stores will usually carry these items on sale early spring (right before spring break). I was able to get two cans of spray on SPF50 for about eleven bucks back in March.
The painful lesson learned on our beach trip last year was getting a sun burned back. On my first trip to the beach that year I was under the false pretense I was adequately coated with block all afternoon. The return to the umbrella was met with gasps from others stating how red my back was. It was evident the salty and sandy surf had washed away the lotion off my back leaving it exposed for a few hours. Sleep was a challenge for two nights during that trip. This year, I went into our vacation prepared with a u/v protected swim shirt. The shirt set me back a measly nine dollars and did the job. Trying to find a swim shirt for kids is a snap at large retailers such as Target, Kohl’s, or Wal-Mart. Trying to find swim shirts for adults is not as easy. Search engine pursuits under adult swim shirts had me directed to upscale beach attire e-stores that were pretty pricey, though a little over the top. I resorted to purchasing a black u/v protected workout shirt at Meijer for a paltry nine bucks. It did the job all week!
This June 2013 trip to South Carolina did not disappoint. I got burned again but in a different spot, my head and feet. The feet and head seem to be the last places I would have considered “covering up”, but they were exposed. My head was exposed as I had worn a visor to the beach. My feet were never sprayed so they were lobsters at the end of the day. Taking away a few burns from the past few years I have managed to highlight key reminders to myself to stay burn free at the beach:
Keys to staying burn free on the beach:
1. Umbrella – Spend adequate time under the umbrella. Bring one or rent one if you have to. It is money well spent and you will return home burn free. It is also a great way to catch up on your reading and keep your snacks and beverages cool.
2. Sun block Sprays – This is a great way to quickly and frequently stay protected from solar rays. Perspiration and frequent trips in and out of the water will remove the initial application of block. Spray on screens or blocks will make this step a breeze. Many people get burned because they avoid re-applying protection when it involves creams or lotions because it is such a hassle.
3. Sun block on Hands and Feet – The two most forgotten areas must be protected. Remember to apply block on tops of feet. Sandals and water socks are not enough protection as they still allow small holes to expose feet. Keep the head protected by wearing a light breathable hat. Leave the visor at home. Also spending adequate time under the umbrella will protect the head.
4. Use Water Resistant Sun Screens and Blocks – Opt for the lotions and sprays that hold up to water. Some of these products will resist water for up to eighty or ninety minutes. In the Carolina sun and surf, I would reapply every hour. Reapplication is also mandatory when salt and sand remove the protective screens.
5. Swim Shirt – This extra protection from the sun will be a lifesaver for the shoulders, back and chest. Go with a swim shirt or workout shirt that has u/v protection label. Light t-shirts or undershirts will not work as they allow harmful rays to penetrate the skin, especially if the top gets wet.