A recent study showed that only 14 percent of men regularly do it, while 30 percent of women do. Midwesterners do it less than people living in other parts of our country even though doing it may save your life! Or at the very least, keep you looking younger longer…
Do I have your attention? I’m talking about applying sunscreen. As the weather turns warmer and most of us look forward to spending time outdoors, it’s important to remember your skin! You might want to begin by taking WebMD’s online quiz to test your knowledge on the important subject of sunscreen and its use. Really! Some of the information was a genuine surprise to me!
I come from the generation who religiously listened to the Beach Boys, where everyone strived for a California “glow” (suntan). Back then it was commonplace to make your own “sun lotion potion.” We’d put a small bit of iodine into a bottle of baby oil, shake, and liberally apply. Follow up with four to five hours in direct sunlight and, voila, a golden tan. Or, more often a painful sunburn! (Reconsidering now, it seems a lot like basting the Thanksgiving turkey. Yipes!)
Now I’m older and hopefully a bit wiser. I daily use an SPF (sun protection factor) lotion on my face, neck and ears, and apply sunscreen on other exposed areas of skin. Here are a few additional tips geared especially to all RV enthusiasts:
- 30 is your absolute base number. Always use a sunscreen with a SPF rating of 30 or higher, regardless of your skin tone.
- Apply sunscreen to the top of your hands and arms. This is especially important as you travel because harmful UVA rays can pass through the glass of your rig’s windshield.
- Reapply! Skin specialists recommend reapplying sunscreen every hour that you spend in the sun, especially if you’re sweating or are in and around water where the sunscreen can potentially wash off.
- Use your RV awnings! Sitting in the shade will lessen the sun’s harmful effects.
- Between the hours of 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., plan to be indoors (e.g., grocery store, museum, or inside your rig). Stay out of the sun, if possible.
- Invest in a hat with a large, floppy rim, along with dark-colored shirts to protect your skin. Long sleeves and long pants are best, too. There are many great fabrics that feature “cooling technology.” Check them out!
- Always wear sunglasses. Keep extra pairs in each vehicle for convenience, and see your eye doctor at least once a year.
- Choose sunscreen lotions. Sprays can be inconsistent, and sunscreen sticks may take four swipes or more to completely protect your skin. Apply lotion evenly and generously. Then rub it in.
- The sun’s harmful rays can hurt your skin even on cloudy days. Keep sunscreen near your RV’s door for a good reminder and quick access.
- Periodically check your skin and see a doctor if you have questions.