While you have spent the past couple of months bundled up in countless layers bearing the cold snowy weather, its only normal to start planning your next tropical winter vacation. Though it is time to kick back and relax, make sure you don't let down your guard when it comes to your skin and skin health. While a majority of a person's sun exposure happens before the age of 18, a number of studies have shown that short-term exposure to unusually intense sunlight increases the risk of melanoma, an aggressive and potentially deadly form of skin cancer.
So while Aruba or St. Bart's may be calling, remember to pack some vacation essentials and remember these tips suggested by Dr. Mariwalla, MD, Director of Mohs and Dermatologic Surgery at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and Beth Israel Medical Center in NYC.
- A broad brimmed hat. Not only for you but for the beachcombing children you may be carrying with you.
- Sunscreen. The closer to the equator you go, the higher the SPF should be.
- Do NOT tan in the salon prior to vacation hoping that it will prevent you from getting a sunburn. Evidence shows that tanning in a tanning bed does not thicken the skin and therefore does not prevent sunburns
- Protect those eyes! If you are going to be on the water, make sure to pack a pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes from the UV rays that kick up off the water's surface
- Remember lips. Lip balm with SPF is essential whether you are going skiing or laying on the beach. Skin cancers and pre-cancers occur frequently in this region because it is a spot often forgotten about.
- If you are going for a ski vacation remember that UV is stronger with increasing altitude and that white blanket of snow serves as a perfect reflector of the sun's rays. Kiehl's sells a freeze-proof sunscreen balm that will not only protect your skin from chapping but also contains SPF to protect it from the sun's rays
- Keep children under 6 months of age in tight-woven cotton clothing (You can test the tightness of the weave by holding the clothing up to the light. The more you can see through it, the looser the weave)
- Children under 6 months should not have sunscreen applied to them. Best to keep them with a hat on and in the shade.
- Pre-wash bathing suits in Rit Sunguard. This will confer an added SPF without the cost.
- If you are jetsetting somewhere for a few days and taking carry on baggage only, don't let the regulations of the TSA prevent you from carrying sunscreen. Bring sunscreen wipes! Available in a number of brands, these easy to carry wipes are safe to carry through airport security and not bulky. They are available for children as well.
Do you have any tips for skincare safety during your winter vacation that you'd like to add? If so, leave a comment below.
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