The weather is heating up and as we venture back outside for lots of fresh air and sunshine, we need to pay more attention to UV rays. Yes, you know—these rays catch you off guard and bite you, causing you days of pain and discomfort. Sunburn can quite possibly be the easiest way to ruin a vacation so we thought it might be helpful to go over the simplest ways to avoid roasting yourself like a rotisserie chicken and what to do to remedy a burn should the sun get the best of you!
WEAR SUNSCREEN: Yes, we know this one is obvious but it’s SO important! Not only is choosing to put on sunscreen before a day in the sun is crucial, it is also essential that you are using the right product and reapplying throughout the day. If you’re out on a cruise, your sunscreen of choice should be waterproof. 30 spf is the most common level of protection and blocks 97% of UV rays. If your skin is extra sensitive, we recommend 50 spf which blocks 98%.
COVER UP: Make sure to protect your skin by covering your shoulders and scalp with a hat or t-shirt. There are fashionable options that let you look fabulous onboard and keep your skin glowing! Don’t forget to protect your eyes with some groovy shades.
BREAK IT UP: We know everyone loves to have fun in the sun, but make sure you are taking breaks periodically to check in with your skin! You might even want to set a timer on your phone for each hour in case you accidentally doze off by the pool.
If your skin is pink or red, itchy, extremely warm to the touch or appears dry, or if you experience a headache or body chills, it is definitely time to find some shade. These are all signs of sunburn.
So despite your best efforts, the sun got the best of you this time? How you treat your skin over the next 24 hours is critical to prevent long-term damage and ensure you can enjoy the remainder of your vacation.
TURN OFF THE OVEN: Yikes! You’re officially cooked! But just because you’ve left the sun’s rays doesn’t mean that you are done baking. The skin actually absorbs the sun’s heat and will continue to roast itself long after you have gone for cover. Pink skin at 3 p.m. can easily turn into blisters by midnight unless you turn off the oven.
First, take the heat out by applying a cold compress (ask your waiter for a hand towel and some ice, in addition to the yummy, tropical umbrella-ridden drink they are serving); second, take a dip in the pool or a quick cool shower to lower your skin’s core temperature. Avoid lingering in the shower too long as it will dry out the skin (leading to stiffness and peeling). Also, avoid the use of any harsh soaps which can irritate the skin.
ALOE VERA: Once you have cooled your skin’s core temperature, apply Aloe Vera gel or natural aloe product to help soothe the burn and repair damaged skin cells. AVOID PETROLEUM-BASED lotions as they do not allow the skin to breathe and lock in heat. Click HERE to view our recommendation for an aloe vera product. Re-apply product as often as you need. Tip: Store your Aloe Vera in your cabin’s min-fridge when you arrive for extra relief from the heat.
THE ESSENTIALS: Another great “do it yourself” remedy can be made using essential oils. Lavender and peppermint oils are the best duo for fighting sunburn damage. To create your own treatment, you will want to have a glass or metal spray bottle to combine the ingredients. It is crucial to use a glass or metal bottle because pure essential oils will break down the chemicals in plastic and leak toxins into your skin. To make the mixture, combine 10 drops of lavender and 10 drops of peppermint with 2 ounces of water. Also be sure you are purchasing your oils from Doterra or Young Living as many other brands are not 100% pure. Many off brands will “cut” their product with corn oil and while they are not harmful, they simply don’t have the therapeutic value of the brands above. Lastly, this mixture will only help soothe sunburn, it does not protect against UV rays themselves.
TAKE A PILL AND CHILL: After cooling off the skin and applying surface treatments, it is a good idea to take an anti-inflammatory (aspirin or ibuprofen). This will not only reduce the pain, but the swelling of the skin’s surface to prevent stiffness.
BE THE NEW “SLIM SHADE-Y”: The worst thing you can do for your sunburn is go back out in the sun. Make sure you find some shade to relax in if you are experiencing sun damage. On a cruise, there are plenty of outdoor areas to hang out and enjoy the warm air and the ocean. Grab a book or make a new “shadey” friend while taking cover under an umbrella or cabana.
HYDRATE: Sun damage will dry out your skin and remove any moisture from your skin cells quicker than normal. This is why it is so important to keep drinking…water! In a normal day, you should drink half your body weight in ounces. For example, if your body weight is 160 lbs, you should be drinking at least 80 ounces of water throughout the day. When you’re treating sunburn that number should be even higher!
MOISTURIZE: As mentioned above, sunburn will dry out your skin quickly so it is important to use moisturizer as much as possible. Bonus points if your lotion has lavender, aloe, or peppermint. Zero points if you try to use a petroleum-based product (you weren’t paying attention—do not pass Go or collect $200–go back and re-read the section on Aloe Vera).
That about does it . We hope these tips for safe skincare in the sun are helpful in preventing sun damage. Hopefully you won’t need to refer to the remedy section of this blog post, but if you do, we also hope they help you get back to the fun! Until next time, cruisers!