ANALYSE YOUR PERSONAL RISK
It's a good idea before you get to the tropics to assess your own sun risk. The more you understand how your skin works the more prepared you can be to avoid excess sun exposure.
People with fair skin usually understand that they are at a greater risk of skin damage from the sun. People with light colored hair or red hair and light skin usually burn more quickly than people with darker hair and darker skin. If you have freckles you are probably fair skinned.
If you think your family genes have put you at a greater risk it's easy to plan accordingly. When in doubt whip it out (the sunscreen that is). It's better to be safe than sorry, especially while on vacation!
CHOOSE A SPECIFIC TYPE OF SUNSCREEN
Today's sunscreen consumer has many choices for protection. Sunscreens come in lotions, oils, creams, sprays, gels, and sticks. Choosing the right type of sunscreen can make your day in the sun a whole lot easier.
Lotions, oils and cremes have been around the longest and have proven to be worthy tools for sun protection. They apply evenly and are usually easy to see where you missed. Sprays are becoming more common but they can be more difficult to apply evenly.
Gels such as Bullfrog can work miracles for those needing a waterproof sunscreen, and sticks do a good job of covering sensitive areas on the face such as noses and cheeks. It's a good idea to plan your sunscreen type based on your particular travel needs.
DECIDE UPON THE PROPER SPF
SPF is short for Sun Protection Factor and is a good number to use to determine the length of time you can stay in the sun without reapplying sunscreen.
While using a sunscreen with a SPF of 15 might provide you with only minimal protection for a short time, using a SPF of 35 might hold off a sunburn for a significantly longer period.
Since everyone's skin is different, the SPF is only a guideline. Each person must learn how a given SPF works on his or her particular skin. When experimenting on sunscreen SPF's it's best to start with the higher numbers and work your way down.
For more information on SPF drop by the SPF QUESTIONS on Ask Yahoo!
APPLY THE SUNSCREEN PROPERLY
You've seen it before, probably more than once. A person at the beach with bright red skin on one part of his or her back right next to the white handprints of successful sunscreen coverage just inches away. Yikes!
Applying sunscreen evenly is easy enough on the parts of the body you can see, but things get tricky on the backside. This is where most people fail to ask for help and where most sunscreen applications go south.
Finding a person to put sunscreen on the parts of your body you can't reach may not be fun, but it is a critical part of skin management. Find someone that loves you, or at least likes you. But don't plan on covering your backside properly without some outside help.
REAPPLY THE SUNSCREEN OFTEN
Probably the biggest sunscreen mistake people make it forgetting to reapply their sunscreen after a certain length of time. If you have the energy to re-apply sunscreen every 30 minutes you will be better off than if you wait an hour or more.
Even a body that has not moved can loose protection from sunscreen that has left the body due to perspiration. But dipping in the pool or ocean is a sure way to loose protection fast.
On extremely hot days when the body is perspiring or after taking even a short dip in the water a fresh coat of sunscreen is good insurance against a sunburn.
GIVE SPECIAL ATTENTION TO SENSITIVE AREAS
Certain parts of the body just seem to be more sensitive to sunburn. And these areas can be easily protected with just a little more attention.
Noses, cheeks, and the tops of ears are susceptible to a larger amount of sun because of the additional sun they receive from reflection. These are areas that the thicker creams and gels work well to protect.
For some people who never get in the sun their whole body is sensitive to sun. The best advice out there for these people is to take it slow, allowing for only a moderate amount of sun each day, along with plenty of sunscreen on all exposed parts of the body.
SPECIAL CARE FOR WATER FANS
The growing market in today's sunscreen wars in in the waterproof sector. Seems like most sunscreen manufacturers are now marketing special waterproof and water resistant sunscreens. In general most waterproof sunscreens last about twice as long as water-resistant sunscreens.
This new market is actually well overdue, because so much of sun protection is water oriented. Swimming, surfing, snorkeling and diving, kayaking, water skiing and many other sports lend themselves to high sun exposure in conjunction with a wet environment.
Most of these waterproof or sport sunscreens provide excellent coverage and are priceless for travelers who plan on getting wet. It is important to remember, however, that even these waterproof sunscreens have their limits with water and they must be reapplied after spending considerable time getting wet. Re-applying at least every two hours is suggested, and more often if the water activity has been extensive.
There are dozens of different brand-name sunscreens on the market. It's a good idea to research their web sites for additional information about thier product.
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