Protecting your skin from sun damage may not be a novel concept, but a lot of you visitors seem to think that easy access to the rays is an open invitation to bask with impunity. Believe me when I say I speak for all of us Islanders, indeed, all of us native to sunny climes, when I advise you to slather on some sunblock.
It almost physically hurts us to see all you tender-pelted northerners with skin that has turned a bewildering shade of puce. We sit back and think, that color really does occur in nature? See, we don’t understand because most of us relearned over the summer that it’s worth the trouble to slather on the SPF; we just forget that lesson by the time it’s warm enough for us to go back to the beach. But, we do have keen eyes for sunburn — we have tricks to figure out when we’ve been to careless and the time has come to cover up. Here are some tricks to keep yourself from looking like you’ve been skewered and roasted.
When you’re outside:
— Put on sunscreen. Duh. The tan you want to go home with will peel off if you don’t apply protection. If your skin burns within ten minutes without sunscreen, an SPF 15 will give you 15 times that amount of time, so count on reapplying after 150 minutes. It blocks 93 percent of the UV rays you’re exposed to, but dermatologists claim that SPF 30 is enough protection for even the fairest of skin.
— Apply sunscreen about 20 minutes before you head outside so your skin can absorb it.
— Reapply. Frequently.
— Bring a light cover-up with you, a hat and sunglasses. You may not choose to use them all at once, or at all for that matter, but will come in useful when you start to feel the effects of the sun.
— If you suspect you’re burning, press your fingers onto the area you’re concerned about. If the pressure turns the skin white, you’ve been over exposed. Cover up!
— If at anytime you feel the sun intensely heating your shoulders, your face or the backs of your legs (an awful place for a sunburn, by the way), move out of the direct sunlight you’ve naively found yourself in. Shift north, or south, or put an umbrella up if it’s high noon, but just get out of the way.
— Remember that sun reflects off water the same way it does off snow. Being on a boat or at the beach compounds the strength of the rays coming at you, so be on your guard.
— Limit your exposure to a few hours. Being out in the sun for an extended length of time can be exhausting and simply fishing or sitting on a boat can beat the desire to move right out of you once you get back in the shade.
Keep in mind that this is a public service announcement and is not intended to convey the idea that you have no idea how to be out in the world. I, for instance, don’t have the scarcest idea how to dress my infant son for an impending trip to a land that is practically the Arctic tundra. Someone needs to tell me. But now you have the basics to keep us from wincing when we see you sit down in those vinyl restaurant booths. And for the record, we don’t have an explanation for that lady, or ladies, who sits on the beach everyday and looks like fine Italian leather. She obviously doesn’t follow these guidelines, nor does she care.
Enjoy your stay!