Don't Get Burned
The delightful climate of Hawaii rates high on the reasons why people travel to the islands, especially during the winter months. The good news is you'll likely find the warm respite you seek. The bad news is that the sun can be a real hazard, especially if you're a sun-seeking snowbird with fair skin. The warning has been out for years, but a lot of people don't like the news: Too much exposure to the sun can have long-term consequences, including skin damage and cancer.
Lying on the beach and baking yourself brown has been a part of American leisure culture for years, so getting people away from that idea is a hard sell. But think about it this way. Hardly anybody really wants their skin to look old before its time, and nobody appreciates a sunburn. After years of study, it's been found that the bad sunburn you suffered in your twenties might come back to haunt you decades later in the form of one kind of skin cancer or another. And statistics show that skin cancer is on the rise.
To take care of your skin, here are a few sun precautions you might consider:
Use a sunscreen of SPF 15 or greater. Apply it twenty to thirty minutes before sun exposure and every couple of hours thereafter if you're active out in the sun. Don't forget such areas as your nose and ears, and — if you don't wear a hat — slap some on that bald spot. You can get burned even if it's cloudy, so don't be fooled if the sun isn't directly visible.
There are waterproof sunscreens available, but even those should probably be reapplied if you've spent a good deal of time in the water.
Snorkeling can be a lot of fun, but remember that you are fully exposing your back side to the sun. With your face in the water and your body spread out, it's very easy to get the big burn. Some people wear a T-shirt to cover their backs while snorkeling. It may not look particularly fashionable, but neither does a painful sunburn.
Don't apply regular sunscreen to your lips. Get some made specifically for that, and make sure it has a high SPF factor.
It's recommended that infants be kept out of the direct sun. Ask your pediatrician about when it's appropriate to begin applying sunscreen to your baby's sensitive skin and for recommendations on specific brands and ratings.
Keep in mind that the sun tends to be at its burning best between the hours of 10 A.M. and 4 P.M. Some people might choose to orient some of their outdoor activities to take place before or after that time.
A wide-brimmed hat is a good idea for protecting your face and neck and shading your eyes. If you're very prone to burning, light-colored, long-sleeved cotton shirts and long pants can provide some protection.
Don't forget the sunglasses! Find a pair that blocks 100 percent of the sun's ultraviolet rays.
Snorkeling is a great way to view the action underwater. It's relatively simple to learn — all you need is to use a basic mask, snorkel, and fins. Some folks might get nervous about breathing through a tube with their faces in the water, so if you're a beginner, try snorkeling in a swimming pool or calm, shallow water before venturing farther out.