Summer break is almost here, and that means many of you will spend more time outside–whether at the beach or exploring the town where you’re studying abroad.
With more sun exposure comes greater risk of getting sunburnt, especially for very pale individuals, like myself.
While it may be more fashionable to be tan, it’s more healthy to stay pale. Too much sun exposure can cause skin cancer. It also causes wrinkles, which is something I know you want to avoid, ladies.
Plus, according to history, paleness was a sign of wealth and nobility, because it meant you didn’t have to toil in the hot sun all day like the common laborers.
I searched WebMD for advice about preventing sunburn.
Obviously, you should wear sunscreen every time you’ll be outside for longer than 15 minutes. Make sure the sunscreen you choose has an SPF of 15 or higher. The higher the SPF number, the longer your skin can be in the sun without a high risk of sunburn. Also, make sure the sunscreen you use says “broad-spectrum” on the label. This means it will protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays, which are the main causes of skin damage from the sun.
Your lips can get sunburnt too, so finding a lip balm with an SPF of 15 or higher will protect your lips as well.
Reapply sunscreen every two to three hours.
Be sure to reapply sunscreen more often if you are going to get wet at the pool or the beach.
Aside from sunscreen, hats are a great way to protect your head, ears, neck and shoulders. Men might only want to wear baseball caps, but if you’re a girl, buy a wide-brimmed sun hat. You’ll be protected and fashionable, all at the same time.
Also, make sure your sunglasses have UV ray protection to prevent eye damage.
If you’re like me and you like reading outside or by the pool, try and find a shady area or an open umbrella to sit under. You can still enjoy the warmth of the outdoors and stay protected.
If you do happen to get sunburnt, WebMD also has treatment tips.
Cool water from a shower or a damp cloth will provide relief, as will lotions that contain aloe vera. You can also buy aloe vera gel. Keep it in the fridge, and apply it to the sunburnt area to relieve sunburn pain.
Medicine such as Tylenol, Advil or Motrin can also help ease the pain of a sunburn.
Be sure to keep lotion on the sunburnt area. Not only will it relieve the pain, but it will also help relieve itching and might make the peeling process easier.
Try not to let things bump or rub up against your sunburn. Wearing loose-fitting clothing will help with that.
Do some more research about preventing and treating sunburn before your beach vacation, and remember that no matter how beautiful your tan skin looks now, it’s not worth the wrinkles or skin cancer that could come later in life.