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Sun Protection Tips for Boaters

While on sailing holidays, one of our favourite doing nothing activities is working on a tan and we are perfectly prepared for that. Yet, since there is no shade on the water, except what is provided by the sail, not only does the sunlight come from above, but it is also reflected off of the water and off of white sails and hulls, skin is easily exposed in the sun during any outdoor activity on board. Taking care of your skin is essential, as sunburns and sun damage are known to cause pain and age skin faster. Here are some tips on how to protect your skin while boating so you can relax and enjoy your days on board.

Never forget your sunscreen

The most basic (and most important) method for skin care, sunscreen is an absolutely essential item to have on board of your boat.

Things to know about sunscreen:

  • Although you can keep leftover sunscreen from one season to the next, it will not say fresh and affective forever. The Food and Drug Administration requires that all sunscreens maintain their optimal strength for at least three years, but you should also check the printed expiration date on the bottom or the side of the product.
  • The minimum protection provided by a sunscreen is 15 SPF - a sunscreen under 15 SPF won’t provide actual protection to your skin.
  • Some sunscreens are marked as waterproof or sweatproof, which provide more protection for boaters.
  • Sunscreens marked at more than 50 SPF may seem like the most powerful, but are not actually more effective.
  • For some people, sunscreen will make their skin oily or clog their pores. If your skin is sensitive in this way, look for sunscreen that is marked as non-comedogenic: this is just the dermatology term for a substance that will not clog pores.
  • If your lips are especially sensitive, you can buy lip balm that has a low level of SPF in it.
  • Make sure to use sunscreen that affords both UVA and UVB protection, to ward off both burns and illness.
  • When you are not using sunscreen, make sure to store it out of the light of the sun — if it is exposed to too much sunlight it will become ineffective.
  • Wait until sunscreen dries before going out in the sun or on the water; this should take approximately 15 minutes.
  • Remember, sunscreen has to be reapplied every two hours. If you just put it on at the beginning of the day, you may end up with a sunburn at the end of the day.

Protect your head

Sunscreens are made to protect your skin, but your head requires more care. A hat will not only fully protect the skin on your head but also will offer some additional protection for your eyes. Keep in mind the parts of your body that will be most exposed, such as your neck, shoulders, and upper arms. Any cap will protect your face, but hats with all all-around wider brim will shield the back of your head and neck as well.

Sunburns won’t spoil you holidays but are painful, distracting and annoying. In order to take to the most out of your sailing holidays try to involve the use of sunscreen in your daily routine. It may feel boring, but it is well worth avoiding the consequences of sunburn.

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