How to Avoid a Sunburn

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Nothing ruins a day at the beach like coming home, looking in the mirror, and realizing you resemble a lobster. Sunburns are one of the worst things that can happen on a vacation. For some of us, our burns can be extremely severe. In addition to bright red skin, some people get burned so bad blisters can form and they have to get medical attention! Clearly, this is one souvenir you don’t want to take home with you. Here are some tips on cutting your risk of a severe burn:

  • Apply sunscreen before heading out.

The biggest mistake I see people make is leaving the house without applying sunscreen, and waiting until they’re outside and in the sun. Sunscreen needs time to soak into your skin! Try to wait twenty minutes after applying before heading out.

  • Apply it everywhere.

This includes scalp and tops of ears. Your scalp is vulnerable to burns, especially along the part. Try spraying sunscreen along the part, and massaging it onto your ears. It may make your hair feel a bit greasy, but that’s better than a burn! If that still doesn’t sound fun, put on a hat or bandana whenever you’re outside. Additionally, invest in a lip balm with SPF. Burnt, chapped lips are not going to be fun, you don’t want to be in pain every time you smile for a picture.

  • Reapply sunscreen.

One coat is not enough for a day at the beach! Apply every couple of hours, more if you’re playing sports or swimming. A higher SPF is optimal, and so is a sweat-resistant sunblock. However, these still need to be reapplied. Set a timer on your phone so you’ll have a consistent schedule.

  • Sit in the shade.

Find a nice tree or pack an umbrella to sit under. Your body needs breaks from the sun, and this will also help you stay cool during the duration of your trip. It also helps with the eye strain that comes with squinting at the sun all day!

  • Stay hydrated.

This one is a no-brainer. Your skin already needs hydration, it’s just more of a necessity if you’re out in the sun all day. Drink more than you think you need, and consider drinking sports drinks that contain electrolytes.

You’re sweating out more than just water! If you don’t replenish those electrolytes you’ll be more susceptible to heat exhaustion. Proper hydration can also speed up the recovery process if you end up getting a burn.

  • Avoid lotion when you first get a burn.

If you do end up getting a burn, try not to put lotion on it right away. Aloe vera is an exception but still wait a few hours. This sounds counterintuitive, but heavy lotions can trap the heat in your skin and make the recovery process more painful. If you absolutely need relief, gently dab a damp washcloth on your skin. Ibuprofen can also be a great tool to have at your disposal. It can help with pain and reduce a bit of swelling and redness.

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