If you're one of the lucky ones escaping the charming August weather we are having in the UK this summer (i.e. too much rain), then it's important to know how to protect your skin on holiday. Interestingly, our skin is our body's largest organ – making up around 16% of our body mass – and its goal is to protect the body from external factors like bacteria, chemicals, and excess temperature. This organ is composed of skin and its derivatives (hair, nails, sweat glands, oil glands). But whilst your skin protects you, you have to protect it, especially from sun exposure, which can cause sunburn (ouchie, we have all been there), premature ageing (something no one wants), and an increased risk of skin cancer (something definitely to be avoided). So, whilst you're splashing in the pool or the waves, exploring your favourite Italian city, or lounging in a Caribbean resort, follow these tips for safer sun exposure.
#1 Apply sunscreen as if your life depends on it (because, well, it kinda does)
To protect your skin from the sun's harmful UV rays, you should generously apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with at least SPF factor 30 to all exposed areas of your body. That means your neck, fingers, ears, scalp, and even down to your toes. Don't forget your back and that one tricky spot on the back of your legs! Reapply every two hours, especially if you're swimming and sweating. Some oft-overlooked areas are lips and feet so make sure you're also covering them. You can find lip balm with SPF too, and if you're walking on sand, you can find some closed-toe footwear such as those beach shoes to protect your feet from the hot sand.
#2 Find a shady spot during peak hours
Between 10 am and 4 pm, the sun's rays are strongest. (As a tip: you can check your weather app on your phone for the UV index of any place you're travelling to this summer.) Try to avoid staying in the sun during peak exposure times. Of course, you may feel like this is the bulk of your day when on holiday, but when you don't need to be in direct sunlight, seek the shade of an umbrella, a tree, or a beach tent to reduce harmful exposure – and keep on applying more sunscreen. Plus, the heat of the day means you might enjoy doing an air-conditioned indoor activity like a museum during these high UV times. There's nothing quite as lovely as a 5 pm swim when you know you won't get burned!
#3 Wear protective clothing
If you do have to be out in the sunlight or have some exciting outdoor activity planned during peak hours, then wear protective clothing (unless you're sipping cocktails by the pool - under an umbrella, of course). You can cover up with lightweight breathable fabrics which will provide some additional sun protection. If you can stand it, long-sleeved shirts are the better option as well as wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses with UV protection. Wearing loose garments, sunglasses, and hats can protect your skin and eyes from direct sunlight. You can even buy clothing (at hiking shops and the like) that has UV protection in it.
#4 Drink your water
It can be difficult when you're at an all-inclusive resort, for example, to switch the frozen strawberry daiquiri every now and then for a bottle of water, but it's essential for skin health (and brain health) to stay hydrated. When you're in hot climates, you need extra water to prevent heatstroke and dehydration. As unglam as this sounds, pay attention to how frequently you urinate and the colour. If it's dark and you're not going to the toilet enough, you need more water. Try sparkling or soda water if you don't love plain water. But often resorts and hotels will provide free bottled water, so drink up. (Plus, as a bonus, you won't feel those holiday hangovers so much.)
#5 Be cautious of water sports
If you're swimming, surfing, or engaging in any water sports, the sun can be magnified in the water by about 10%, meaning you're at an increased risk for sunburn. By contrast, sand magnifies the sun by about 20% so being on a beach can increase your exposure. You need to be careful especially if you have children who love to be active in the water on holiday, be extra vigilant to protect their skin and yours.
#6 Limit exfoliation and fragrances – and check your meds
Prior skin exfoliation and some fragrances can cause reactions on your skin when exposed to sunlight and make your skin more sensitive, so if you have especially delicate or sensitive skin, be careful. Of course, before holidays, we want to make our skin look glowing and its best so we might engage in body brushing or fake tanning, but these actions can cause sensitivity. On another note, some medicines can increase your sensitivity to the sun, so check with your doctor or pharmacist if you're on meds that have photosensitivity as a side effect and double up on your skin protection methods.
#7 Know how to care for your skin if you do get mild sunburn
If you do experience mild sunburn, treat your skin with appropriate after-sun products that contain aloe vera or chamomile to soothe and moisturise affected areas. You can find plenty of products at your local chemist that help moisturise and restore the skin in the event you weren't as cautious. Try to avoid further exposure as this can cause long-lasting damaging effects on the skin.
#8 Get holiday ready with your Tria Hair Removal Laser 4X
For some, being hair-free means ease and confidence. If you want to start your hair-free journey, start your hair removal treatment with Tria's Hair Removal Laser 4X. Imagine future holidays where you can ditch the razor, saving time and energy. You can simply shower and go, giving you extra time for your friends and more freedom to enjoy good times. Take a look at my Tria 4X diary journey from hairy to hair-free.