How to Select and Use Sunscreen and Not Ruin Your Beach Vacation
Sunshine is good for us – we wouldn’t be alive were it not for the sun and its energy. People who live in parts of the world, such as the Arctic Circle, where there are extended periods of time without much sunlight, tend to be prone to depression and other ailments. They have to work hard to compensate for this lack of sunshine.
On the flip side, too much sunshine can make you sick in the short term (painful sunburns, heat stroke, to name a couple of ways) and also promote long term problems such as skin cancer.
I have lived in Myrtle Beach for 20 years and I’ve watched a lot of visitors to the beach literally ruin their whole vacation by not taking proper precaution when it comes to being out in the sun. Using sunscreen or not can mean a good vacation, or one you’ll never forget for all the wrong reasons.
Here is my best advice on how to select and use sunscreen:
Choose the right sunscreen. Get familiar with SPF – Sun Protection Factor. Many people think the SPF number has to do with the strength of the protection, but that’s not true. The SPF number, such as 30, or 50, for example, has to do with how long it should keep you protected. In theory, the formula for figuring this out is to figure how long it would take you to burn with no protection, then multiply that number times the SPF number. This should give you the number of minutes you can stay in the sun using that SPF number of sunscreen, without burning. I’ll tell you right here, that there are many other variables and this is not so accurate. But, it might be a good starting place for you.
Use your sunscreen properly. One of the variables is how well you applied the sunscreen. Did you start ahead of time and apply it in layers to get a deep skin penetration? Did you know it takes about 20 minutes after applying it for sunscreen to become effective? Start applying long before you hit the beach.
Choose a water-resistant sunscreen. It’s more expensive, but well worth the extra investment for the protection it offers.
Be very thorough when applying sunscreen. By thorough, I mean don’t forget about those places like under the straps of your flip-flops or the back of your knees. Other places to think about are the tips and tops of your ears, your nose, and your forehead. You might need to enlist the help of a friend to help you with those hard-to-reach places.
Make sure you’re using fresh sunscreen. Some people purchase sunscreen in large discount-priced bottles. Then, they have a lot leftover at the end of the summer. Resist the temptation to keep it for the next year. The effectiveness of sunscreen diminishes quickly and cannot be trusted from season to season. Oils will tend to last better than lotions. Check the expiration dates, and then err on the side of caution.
If you plan to visit Myrtle Beach, my hometown, please click here for help with the perfect accommodations, at the right price.