Are you getting ready to jump back into your pool now that it is spring? We are, too! The sunny skies and temperatures are just right to get back into the swim-and-sun routine. Before you get your toes wet, however, it might be time to read up on a sun safety refresher:
Lather up in sunscreen: We know this is probably the tip you hear most about, but its importance can never be overstated. Whenever you’re headed outside—to the pool or even on outdoor errands—it’s important to apply a sunscreen with an SPF, or sun protection factor, of at least 30. Reapply at least every two hours if you’re relaxing poolside. If you’re swimming yourself, or sweating from any physical activity, for that matter, be sure to reapply between your times in the water. It’s smart to pick up water resistant or “sport” geared sunscreen, but you should still reapply regularly.
Cover up, when possible: During pool season, it’s not exactly practical to warn our readers to cover up in clothing whenever they go outside! Whenever you’re not actually swimming, however, you should toss on a tightly-knit, light-colored top; the white or light color will keep you cool, and the tight knitting will prevent sun from sneaking through to your skin. You can test out the knit of your own clothes by slipping your hand under a sleeve—can you see through the shirt to your skin? You’ll want to choose a thicker, less sheer material.
You of course can’t don your outfit while swimming, but if possible, wear sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat (even in the water) to keep your eyes, head and body as covered as possible. Just because you can’t notice a sunburn on your scalp, doesn’t mean it’s not affected! Covering up as much as possible will help you avoid those nasty sunburn headaches later on.
Know your limits: Before committing to a full day in the sun, you may want to test the waters—so to speak. Spend some time in the sun to see how long you can comfortably be outside, and don’t push it if you feel uncomfortable at the pool or beach. Remember that the sun is most intense during the middle of the day, between about 10 am and 2 pm—if you start to develop a headache, irritated skin or other symptoms, it’s likely time to head inside and cool off.
Take time to heal burnt skin: If you do get a dreaded sunburn, be sure to hop in a cool shower or bath to offer yourself some immediate relief. Afterwards, take care of yourself! Wear soft, loose-fitting clothing while your sunburn heals and apply a cold, damp washcloth to particularly hot areas of your skin to ease the sting of the burn. Drink plenty of water to rehydrate, use lotions with aloe in them to aid the healing process, and try to avoid going outside until you and your skin are back to normal.