Photo from UV Skinz https://www.uvskinz.com/
As someone who spends over 100 days per year swimming in the waters of Greece and exposed to the sunlight here daily, I’d like to offer a bit of advice to the many tourists I see arriving in the Mediterranean this summer.
1. This is not the same sun we grew up with. The intensity of the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays have intensified over the last 40 years so if you did not burn as a teenager, that means nothing in 2022. The UV rays in Greece in mid-June are already at level 9 which presents a very high risk of burn for lighter skin types.
2. Wear sunscreen and re-apply it throughout the day. Try out different brands to see which works for you and always have some with you when on your beach holiday. Use a stronger SPF for your face than for the rest of your body and don’t shy from the higher SPFs. A good tan is built slowly and a burn is not a good tan. After your time in the sun, be sure to keep moisturizing too! (In case you are wondering, we wear 100 spf on our faces and 50 spf on our bodies).
3. Wear a hat — even if hats are not your thing. Hats protect your face and eyes from UV rays and from sunburning your scalp — even if you are not balding. They also make great souvenirs to shop for when you are spending time in the shade!
4. Live like the Greeks and take an afternoon break. In Greece people take care of things in the morning, have lunch, then take an afternoon nap break (when everything is closed from 2–6pm). In Spain they call it a siesta, in Italy it’s a reposo, and in Greece its called a repo. After 6, things come back to life and the sun is not so intense. Living like the Greeks when on your holiday is a great way to not overdo it in the sun whether its on the beach or up on the Acropolis (which can feel like an oven in the afternoon sun).
5. Rashguards, swimshirts, and long sleeve swimsuits are not just for kids. Its wonderful to see tourists putting their children in rashguards, swimshirts, and long sleeve swimsuits lately but these are great for grownups as well. This does not mean you can’t wear your new bikini, but having a rashguard or long sleeve swimsuit to slip on over it can give you a nice option to protect the tan you are working on! If you are fair skinned or want to spend a lot of time in the water, consider wearing one of these types of sun protection swimwear most of the time you are at the beach.
These are also good protection from jellyfish stings.
Here are a few places where you can find UV-protective swimwear:
6. Most skin damage occurs under the age of 10 and its gets worse from there. Kids today are facing more intense UV rays than their parents did. Most parents we see at the beach do a wonderful job of protecting their children’s skin — but neglect their own. Skin is the largest organ in our bodies and taking care of it is vital to our health!
7. If you are over 40 you are at risk of skin damage, even if you’ve always been a good tanner. Again, this is not the same sun we grew up with. So please, take these precautions so you can enjoy your holiday, make some great memories, and be ready to return again next year!
Author – Chris Kiran Aarya