I and my family just came back from the tropics at the peak of the dry (thus sunny, hot and humid) season there. What was initially a welcome change from the under 10°C temperatures of European became somewhat intolerable and the only relief one can have was the airconditioning and the pool. I always prided myself as very savvy when it comes to sun safety but I still learned a couple of things during our 3-week stint in the Philippines. Despite the dismal weather, there is still some hope that summer will come to Europe. Let me share with you the new things I have learned:
Once is not enough. Applying once, twice, even three times is not enough even if you stay out in the sun the whole day. You do not feel the heat of the sun when you are in the water but you get burned anyhow. My kids got sunburned on the shoulders the first day on the beach despite the three-time screening that I decreased time spent under the sun and increased frequency of sunscreen application.
Learning the hard way may be the best way. My kids used to complain about applying sunscreen. It is greasy and smelly and such a bother to apply. After the burned shoulders episode, they were the ones who demanded for sunscreen application, and even learned to apply cream on each other. There is nothing like a little pain to drive home the message.
Shade is not a guarantee against sunburn. It was an overcast day and we even had some showers in between. And I stayed under the roofed part of the boat almost all the time while the others snorkelled. But the one-time sunscreen application did not prevent me from getting sunburned anyhow. Lesson learned: shade and overcast skies do not prevent sunburn. Sunlight is especially strong out in the sea.
Even long-time tropical residents burn. My nephew Carl is of a nice brown tropical color. Me, on the other, is pale and lost my brown color long ago after migrating to Europe. Yet, we both got sunburned anyhow. Even the locals need to apply sunscreen.
In addition to these things, I bring you some resources from the MD Anderson Cancer Center on sun and skin care:
- 5 Tips for Kid Sun Protection
- Stylish Shade on Summer Days
- Summer Skin: Get the Naked Truth
- Video: Know the Skin You’re In (3:04)
- Video: The 411 on Sunscreen (4:05)