For many, the sea or lake is a place of tranquility and relaxation. They offer an array of entertaining activities, yet it is important not to forget certain elements of skin safety amid all the excitement. Watery areas are unforgiving places for your skin, and the dangers your skin faces can be more intense when compared to the dangers UV rays present to you on land. However, that being said, these issues are easily overcome and need not be a problem. As always, you should protect yourself with a good sunscreen, but extra precautions do need to be taken, in order to guarantee your safety.
What are the issues?
Watery areas present a level of UV exposure to skin that is not seen on land, especially in built up, urban environments. Usually, there is lots of shade, provided by buildings and trees, for example. This is not the case at sea or on a lake, except for perhaps a canopy which may be attached to your boat. This becomes more problematic due to the fact that UV rays reflect off of water, thus reducing how effective staying in the shade is at beating the sun.
In addition to this, water can also wash off any sunscreen that has been applied, meaning even though the protective precaution has been taken, it may actually be a futile measure. Obviously, this is more likely to occur if people decide to swim.
Staying protected on vacation
If you’re traveling, especially overseas, and you know you’ll be spending a lot of time on or around water, it’s always a good idea to plan ahead and purchase sunscreens before you go. You might find it difficult to purchase exactly what you need while traveling so it’s best to stock up before you go. Those going on cruises, in particular, will be spending a lot of time at sea and might not find the products they need readily available on-board or in ports. Cruises are more frequently being tailored to a wider market, encompassing both older and younger travelers, with many other cruise operators emphasizing the ‘family’ aspects of their watery getaways. Whilst this is undoubtedly great for those with kids who want to go on a cruise, it also means greater attention has to be paid to the UV safety measures taken towards children. This is because serious health issues, such as the formation of atypical moles, can occur when children are overexposed to UV rays (this includes UV rays from direct sunlight and reflected rays from water). Perhaps what is even more worrying, is the fact that eighty percent of a person’s lifetime exposure to harmful UV rays occurs by the time they are 18. Clearly, great effort needs to be taken to protect children, right through to their teens, as this is when the most damage can occur.
What precautions should be taken?
Obviously, having a good sunscreen is of extreme importance. However, it is essential to purchase a waterproof variety. This is to ensure the lotion is not being applied and then washed off (after going for a swim, for example), which leaves the skin exposed. It is also important to apply sunscreen regularly, and to make sure it is applied to the entire body.
Other key precautions apply to all situations involving exposure to sunlight, but these are critically important when around water. Perhaps the most important is to cover up when the day is at its hottest. Light, airy, long sleeve t-shirts are a very good idea. Covering up is also a good way to protect against any UV rays that are reflected off of the water’s surface. Remember, unless you are on a larger boat or cruise ship, retreating inside will not be an option, so you must be prepared beforehand. If possible, try to organize your events in the morning or evening, as this will mean it is cooler and will reduce the chance of being burnt.
Always be vigilant
As you can see, it is fairly easy to protect against the sun when you are around water. Generally, it constitutes buying a different variety of sunscreen, which is not too taxing. The thing to remember, is to keep a routine. With the factors of water and little shade, it is more easy for sunscreen to wear off. Reapply sunscreen at regular intervals and remember to reapply after swimming. Remember to pay extra close attention to covering up and be thorough with the application of sunscreen. Also, check the weather forecast when planning to go to the lake, or sailing at sea. If it is possible, try to organize the trip on a cooler day. There is no reason you cannot enjoy the water and the sun at the same time. If this simple advice is adhered to, the increased dangers watery areas pose are easily combated.