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Cruising Towards No Tan

Pasty, Fair, Skin Cancer Free

When it comes to certain activities, there’s no hiding from the sun. Being on a boat, near water or on a cruise is one of those times that getting away from sunshine isn’t really what you’re there for. Sunshine, sand and water is one of the very reasons so many families choose cruise vacations. I don’t want to rain on your sunny Caribbean getaway, but as a fair skinned girl from a family with an extensive history of skin cancer, I’m here to help you out with a few sun tips and tricks.  It may help you to review before you’re burning on a boat or away from the convenience of  products you need the most.

I know, I know, most of this will be old news to you. But I can promise you that once you’re out having fun? You’re going to forget at least one thing and end up a very sad (and possibly red) person. One of my goals for my girls and me this summer is to end it without a single tan line. (Well, burn line in my case, let’s be honest. I don’t tan. Never have, never will.)

  • Water reflects the sun. I learned this when I spent a day on a boat and ended up with the most INSANE sunburn under my chin, ears, nose and ON MY EYEBALLS. If you’ve never sunburned your eyeballs, it’s every bit as horrible as you can imagine. The bigger the sunglasses the better, and when it comes time to apply sunscreen, leave no nook unslathered.
  • It takes time for sunscreen to settle in and form a protective barrier with your skin. Plan on applying a full coat at least 20-30 minutes before heading out, otherwise you’ll be left unprotected for the first little while (it only takes minutes to burn) which defeats the whole purpose of putting sunscreen on in the first place.
  • I have the most ridiculous floppy sun hat. It’s SPF 50 and it goes out past my face, shoulders and most of my back. People made fun of my floppy sun hat until I made it a whole summer by the pool with nary a tan line, burn or fresh freckle. Buy one, use it, love it. Same goes for your family, hats should not be optional when you’re spending days out under the sun.
  • Sunscreen expires and breaks down in heat. I realize you bought that giant bottle two summers ago but here’s the thing. a) Sunscreen breaks down and loses potency after about a year. b) If you still have that giant bottle leftover, you probably weren’t using enough to begin with. It’s going to take at least a shot glass full (or palm full) to cover your body properly. It’s barely June and we’ve already burned through 3 tubes. You’d be better off keeping sunscreen in your purse than in a hot car; heat breaks down sunscreen. If you’re going to buy it and go to the trouble of actually applying it, you may as well store it properly. The FDA has also changed the language sunscreen makers are allowed to use, so if you have an old bottle it may not be telling you the whole story as to what it really protects from.
  • My daughter hates having sunscreen applied to her face, so I use a thicker zinc oxide sunscreen and makeup sponge. It makes the whole process slightly more bearable.
  • Spray sunscreens, while effective, aren’t the best for little kids. It’s suggested that when using spray sunscreen on kids to spray it on your hand first and then apply it, in that case you may as well just put the classic lotion on them. If you use a spray sunscreen on yourself, apply before heading out, spread it evenly, allow it to dry and reapply just to make sure you’re truly covered.
  • Sunscreen doesn’t have to smell nasty, feel gross or go on with difficulty. Have you SEEN how many sunscreen options there are out there? I realize it’s tempting to buy the cheap stuff but if you hate putting it on you’re less likely to use it, and y’all…skin cancer is expensive and pretty gross. Many drugstores have buy-one-get-one-free specials on sunscreens throughout the summer.  When you find one you like, stock up and get into the habit of using it. I just found a new kind that boasts an SPF 30 (the recommended minimum now for daily wear) and it smells like delicious coconuts, and goes on without feeling like I rolled around in sludge.
  • Have you heard of SunGaurd? It’s a laundry additive that makes the everyday clothes you wear into clothing with an SPF 30 protection for up to 20 washes. A lot of us slack and don’t put sunscreen on our whole bodies when the truth is the sun is a sneaky bugger and can seep through clothes, windows and even clouds. Turning your clothes into an extra layer of protection for your whole family before heading out on a cruise is a great idea.
  • Before you leave on your cruise, stock up on your favorite sunscreen so you’re not subject to what’s available (or high prices.) And as motivation to use it? The more you use the more space you have for souvenirs!

We all forget sunscreen sometimes, but the sooner you make applying sunscreen a habit, the less sunburns you’ll have later on. I’ve made an effort to find sunscreens that I enjoy using that work, which makes it that much less of a hassle to use them. Just like makeup, there’s thousands of options, but once you find one that works, you’re all set.

Do you have a favorite sunscreen tip?

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A big thanks to Norwegian Cruise Line for sponsoring this campaign. Click here to see more of the discussion.

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