It is so easy to forget about your skin and keeping it well protected when enjoying yourself in the sun. We all do it and think we can be out for longer than we can in the Summer don’t we?
Sunbathing and soaking up the rays in Turkey has made me think about the steps I’ve taken to look after my skin when on holiday. I have a fairly pale complexion with freckles and moles, so can’t be silly and over-expose my skin to the sun. As I’ve entered my late twenties, the importance of healthy (wrinkle-free) skin, far outweighs having a good tan. But of course I still love to have some colour and feel healthier with a bit of a tan, I just don’t bake myself relentlessly for hours a day.
So here’s a few steps on how to look after your skin on holiday:
1. Sun screen.
Seems simple, but so many people still don’t use the stuff. Particularly the right SPF! The factor on the bottle indicates how long it’s safe to be in the sun before reapplying. You need to understand your skin to calculate this too. As a rule of thumb, you multiply the SPF by the number of minutes your skin takes to go slightly red in the sun, to find the amount of time before you should reapply. So if you tend to go red after 10 mins in the sun without protection and you’re wearing SPF 15, you should be able to stay out in the sun for 150 mins before reapplying. This is obviously not an exact science and it’s better to be safe than sorry and reapply often.
But don’t rely on sun screen alone…
2. Hats and shade.
The sun can be relentless in Summer, particularly in hot countries that us British aren’t used to. With the sun beating down on your head, it can be easy to get burnt on your scalp, over-heated and dehydrated. So remember to wear hats when you’re going to be out in the sun for a while and always seek shade regularly to give your body a bit of a break. Sunglasses are important too – make sure you buy ones that say they have UV protection otherwise they are just a fashion accessory.
3. Stay hydrated.
Again, something which many of us (including me) forget to do when we’re on holiday…drink water! We get carried away, drink cocktails, beer and local wine, but always forget to carry water with us. How silly! It’s so simple – stay hydrated, feel better and look better. Don’t forget when it’s hot, we sweat, which means we’re losing fluids and need to replenish even more than we do at home.
4. Avoid peak hours.
Only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun. This is a particularly accurate expression. We’re so deprived of decent weather in England, that when we go somewhere hot and sunny, we feel like we have to be in it for hours upon hours a day. Not a good idea! As a rule of thumb, it is best to stay out of the sun between the hours of 11am and 2pm. This is when the sun is at its strongest and most dangerous. You’ll notice that rarely are the locals out at this time. They’re usually having a leisurely lunch or siesta somewhere in the shade like sensible people.
Always take something to cover up with when you go out (scarf, shawl, cardy etc). There’s nothing worse then when you know your shoulders have had too much sun and you’re still out and about and can’t do anything about it. Take cover on cloudy or overcast days too as the sun is still deceptively powerful and this can be when people get the most burnt.
6. Eat well.
Healthy eating always makes you look and feel better. Being on holiday is no exception and you will need even more nutrients and goodness than usual. So enjoy lots of fruit and veg on that all-you-can-eat buffet salad bar and fish for those essential omega oils 🙂
Your skin can dry out in all these unusual conditions – heat, wind, sea, sand etc. Even sun screen can dehydrate your skin. So it’s important to keep it full of moisture. I always pack day and night cream for my face and a good body lotion (usually with aloe vera to soothe my skin) to make sure my skin stays supple and glowing.
8. Keep checking.
It’s important to know your skin and your complexion, so you’ll notice if it changes at all. Keep an eye on your skin, particularly if you have freckles or moles, as any changes can be an indication of over-exposure to the sun and/or signs of skin defects and maybe even cancer. So have a look each day and make sure you don’t have burns, rashes or moles that have changed appearance, increased in size or become sore.
These are the 8 things I do to look after my skin on holiday and if you do them too, you can enjoy the sun safely and still achieve a lovely tan.
What’s your skincare routine when away?