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Travel Tip #32

Proper Sun Protection

When I was a kid, my grandparents lived on a lake and we visited them just about every weekend in the summer. Though the drive was only an hour, it seemed to take an eternity. (Now that I think about it, what doesn’t take an eternity to a kid? Long were the Decembers of my elementary school years where the anticipation of Christmas seemed to make time stand still.) When we arrived, my younger brother and sister immediately changed into their swimsuits and ran into the lake and would not emerge until lunch. My red hair and I were held back by my incredibly caring and sensible mother. She lovingly covered me in sunscreen (SPF 50 or above) from head to toe and then kept me from the water for another 15 minutes (an eternity!) while the sunscreen soaked in. She is the best mom in the world. The sun’s rays damage skin. Wrinkles, premature aging and skin cancer are all caused by overexposure to harmful ultraviolet light. Tanning is not only not safe, it is downright dangerous. True, we need a little bit of sunlight to induce our skin to produce vitamin D and ward off rickets, but most people will make enough through minimal exposure.

So what do you do? First, you have to buy sunscreen. Get something with UVA and UVB protection and SPF 30 or greater. Second, use the sunscreen. Apply it to your face, nose, neck and tips of ears every day, all year long and to your arms and legs when they are going to be exposed. This will not only reduce your risk of skin cancer, but it will do more to keep your skin looking young and wrinkle-free than anything you could ever buy. When traveling to tropical climates, the sun is more intense. You are probably swimming (or at least sweating) so sunscreen needs to be reapplied every couple of hours.

Know Before You Go

If you are carrying your luggage on (of course you are) remember the 100ml restriction on liquids. Instead, buy the 1oz travel-size tubes, which cost the same ounce per ounce as the 8oz bottles.

Bottom Line

Sunscreen should be worn by everyone all of the time. 

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