Jetting off to a faraway land with palm trees, beaches and lots of sun? Don’t let a sunburn bring you down – remember to protect yourself! You’ll need more than just sunscreen, though. Read on for our tips.
Sun protection basics for the whole family
These days, most people are well informed about the risks of sun exposure, but it’s still a good idea to review the basics every year and make sure your family is well-protected.
- At birth, we have a reserve of “sun capital” that we use up throughout our lives. The more skin is exposed, the more it becomes damaged.
- UVA rays or long UV rays (95 percent of UV rays) and UVB rays or medium UV rays (5 percent of UV rays received) have different biological effects. While the body is able to block most UVB rays, it struggles to protect itself from damaging UVA rays.
- Even when tanned, your skin needs protection. There is less risk of getting sunburn but the risks caused by long UVA rays persist.
- If you have darker skin, you might think you don’t need sun protection. This is false. The damaging effects of UVA rays penetrate deep into the skin, so don’t forget the sunscreen.
Ready for the beach and the sun? Not so fast
Don’t waste your precious vacation time shopping for sun protection. Pack the following items in your suitcase so you don’t lose any time in the sun.
The well-protected check-list :
- A wide-brimmed hat or cap with a large visor, preferably light-colored.
- Protective sunglasses: choose lenses with a protection factor of three or four.
- A parasol or beach tent with UVA and UVB filters.
- A cooler to carry cold water and thermal spa water spray.
- And, of course, sunscreen: beware of expired bottles that might be lingering in your closet. It’s probably best to buy new tubes.
- Loose clothing permeable to perspiration (a cotton T-shirt, light-coloured to reduce heat and encourage the child to keep it on as long as possible), anti-UV tops and swimsuits that work even when wet.
- Calm games, magazines to keep them occupied in the shade, an MP3 player loaded with music and stories, etc.
Finally, it’s time for some sun… and well-protected
Your beach bag is packed with all the essentials and you’re finally ready for some quality beach time.
But wait – just a few more tips for peace of mind:
- Beware of medications, perfumes and deodorants that could sensitize skin to the sun.
- To establish sun risk and evaluate the UV index on any given day, plant a stick in the ground. If the shadow is longer than the stick, be careful!
- Remember to hydrate children by giving them plenty of cool water to drink and spraying them regularly with thermal spa water.
- Beware of glare in the water, which can increase sun exposure. Alternatively, protect yourself in mountainous regions
– the atmosphere is thinner and less effective at filtering the sun’s rays.
- Draw up an activity schedule for the holidays, favouring activities that are calm and in the shade between noon and 4, such as reading, colouring, cards, naps, etc.