Any seasoned outdoor enthusiast knows the importance of being prepared for whatever the great outdoors may bring. From choosing the correct footwear so you can remain comfortable and safe on long hikes to carrying navigation tools for traversing unfamiliar terrain, as well as having the proper permits to comply with regulations – proper planning is essential to ensure a hassle-free and enjoyable adventure. Just as you wouldn’t dare go on a National Park exploration without the proper gear, heading to a tropical paradise requires the right sun protection tools.
The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays are responsible for skin damage, aging, and can lead to skin cancer after repeated unprotected exposure. According to Dr. Jami L. Miller, an associate professor of dermatology at Vanderbilt University, things like water, sand, and other reflective surfaces can reflect sunlight back to you, making sun protection all the more crucial for tropical destinations. In this article, we’ll go through packing must-haves for your next sunny getaway to keep you safe and healthy.
Sun Protection Essentials
Studies show that regular daily use of sunscreen with at least SPF 15 sunscreen can reduce your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by about 40% and lower your melanoma risk by 50% when used as directed. However, for a day spent outdoors island-hopping around a tropical paradise like Phuket, dermatologists recommend that sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 be reapplied every two hours, especially if you’ll be swimming or sweating.
When choosing a sunscreen, always read the label. Avoid products containing oxybenzone and octinoxate, which have both been banned in Hawaii and Palau due to their damaging effects on underwater ecosystems. Instead, opt for sunscreens like the Australian-made Little Urchin Natural Sunscreen SPF 30 or the Thrive Bodyshield SPF 50 Sunscreen, which are both reef-safe and affordable.
Research suggests that high-energy UV rays from the sun can harm your vision later in life, while excessive UV exposure may damage the area in the back of your eye that helps transmit pictures to your brain. To keep your eyes protected, ophthalmologists recommend wearing sunglasses that offer UVA and UVB protection. Eye protection is especially vital if you’ll be engaging in activities like sailing or fishing, as they shield your eyes from wind, dust, and debris and increase visibility in bright environments.
For this, it’s best to purchase from reputable brands like Oakley, whose sunglasses are specifically made to withstand extreme conditions. The Flak Beta frames, for instance, are durable, lightweight, and stress-resistant. The lenses are also made from a patented material that filters out 100% of UVA, UVB, and UVC rays.
Sun Protective Clothing
In order to get the best protection, clothing with an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) should also be on your packing list. Garments with UPF are engineered to absorb or block a high percentage of UV rays, shielding parts of your skin that may not be covered by sunscreen. When shopping, pick clothes that have a UPF label with a rating of 50+, which means that they block 98% of the sun’s rays. Or you can check if your clothing has the Seal of Recommendation from The Skin Cancer Foundation.
If you’ll be hiking or doing some beach-side yoga in a spot like Bali, the Athleta Headlands Hybrid Cargo II Tights are rated UPF 50+. Lululemon also has sun-protective apparel for less strenuous activities, like their Waterside Relaxed UV Protection Long Sleeve beach shirt.
With these essentials in tow, you can revel in the beauty of paradise without worrying about sunburn. This way, you can feel free to explore and savor every moment, knowing that you’re well-prepared to make the most of your tropical excursion and keep your skin and well-being safeguarded from the sun’s powerful rays.