Healthy Living

What’s in Your Beach Bag This Summer?

It’s so easy for my beach bag to fill up with random junk as a grandmother. With old magazines, my husband’s sunglasses, and my grandkid’s toys, it’s a wonder that I fit any of my stuff in there at all. But I’ve whittled my checklist down to the bare bones, so at least I have everything I need.

1. I only pack one lotion in my bag. It helps prevent wrinkles, age spots, damaged moles, and even skin cancer. Plus, it’s not even expensive. It’s just a broad spectrum and water resistant, mineral based, SPF 50 sunscreen, the most useful product you can have in your bag. The minerals are so absorbent, that they prevent sun damage better than anti-aging products can fix it.

2. Consider getting a sunscreen lip balm too, but only use it when you need to. I try to avoid lip balms in general because they can sensitize lips. After a while, lip balms can actually dry out your lips more than they moisten them.

3. Wide brimmed hats and sunglasses aren’t only summer fashion essentials, they also shade your face from UVA and UVB rays. Baseball caps are definitely better than nothing, but a wide brimmed hat is leaps and bounds better. Also, make sure your sunglasses have UVA/UVB protection. Sometimes cheap sunglasses make it easy for you to see, but let harmful rays through that can damage your eyes.

4. I like to pack a really light blanket or towel in my bag. They’ve saved me from sunburns after falling asleep on the beach before. Plus, when it gets cold out a blanket is always nice to have around.

5. Now that my son and daughter-in-law have a baby boy, I’m going to pack a tiny bucket hat, extra sunglasses, a t-shirt, and shorts for him. Until he’s 6 months old, his skin is going to be too sensitive for sunscreen, so it’s important to keep him covered with clothing and in the shade. Shade is just as important as anything you bring to the beach. Find a nice tree or an umbrella to sit under. You will be safer from the sun under a tree, than you would be out swimming in the ocean.

Even in the shade, however, it’s important to wear some sunscreen. Though you can get away with applying it less often. If I go outside after 4pm, I’ll sometimes wait 10-15 minutes before putting on sunscreen. It lets me get some vitamin D without soaking up too many UV rays. Even still, I take a vitamin D tablet in the morning to make sure I get enough.

If you want to look a little tanner, tanning lotions are an option. Spray tans have airborne chemicals that can get into your eyes or lungs. Some places will give you eye shields and a breathing guard, but it’s still questionable how safe spray tans are.

Tanning parlors are a big no. They give you a heavy dose of UVA light, which is not healthy. Even though UVB light is what gives you sunburns, UVA light can give you wrinkles, age spots, damaged moles, and cause cancer. Tanning booths are not safer than sitting in the sun unprotected.

You may want to bring a couple more things to the beach, but as far as essentials go you’re all set. It’s amazing how easily we can avoid premature wrinkles, age spots, damaged moles, and skin cancer. A little sun protection goes a long way.

by: Dr. Janet Prystowsky

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