When I decided to go to Panama and Costa Rica my biggest concern was how this fair-haired, green eyed , freckled traveler would survive the tropical sun. I am proud to say that with a little attention to detail- I didn’t burn.
• Choose a sunscreen with at least 30 SPF. I used 50 SPF since I was in the
• Select a water- and sweat-resistant product that provides protection against both UVA and UVB rays. Apply ½ to 1 hour before exposure if possible.
• Use at least 1 oz of sunscreen for total body application (i.e., quarter of a 4-oz bottle).
• Apply to all exposed areas, especially the ears, scalp, lips, back of the neck, tops of the feet, and backs of the hands. For snorkeling, I hiked up the back of my bathing suit and used sunscreen there so that when my bathing suit rode up a little from kicking, my bottom was protected. I also remembered to apply it behind my ears.
• Use spray for hard to reach areas.
• Reapply after 1–2 hours and after sweating, swimming, or toweling (even on cloudy days).
• Many sunscreens lose potency after 1–2 years.
• Sunscreens should be applied to the skin before insect repellents.
• Avoid products that contain sunscreens and insect repellents. (DEET-containing insect repellents may decrease the effectiveness of sunscreens and may increase absorption of DEET through the skin.
• Cover up. I wore a long sleeved high SPF sun protective shirt when I snorkeled. It dried quickly and was very comfortable.
• Don’t forget a hat and sunglasses.