Photo: Dimitris Chapsoulas.

Sunscreen is crucial during summer camping at Vygeboom Dam: Here’s why

Living in South Africa has its advantages due to the mild climate of the country. If you like camping, you can choose to do so throughout the year. If you especially enjoy camping in the summer, there are many different ways to enjoy the sun as it is good for the soul. However, with the warmer weather, you might find yourself spending more time outside, so you need to be aware of sun safety. Because, despite the fact that the sun makes you happy, there are some potential risks associated with it. Everyone is aware of how crucial it is to use sunscreen to protect their skin, but do you know the precise reasons why? We should wear sunscreen to protect ourselves from dangerous UV rays because our skin works to shield us from them. Our skin is vulnerable to the sun's rays even on cloudy days, which over time can cause skin cancer, discolouration, and wrinkles. In order to have the best experience while camping, there are a few necessities that you must bring. Sunscreen is among the most essential products you should pack in. The main advantages of using sunscreen are listed below.

#1 Helps keep you safe in the sun

When it comes to spending time in the sun, there are more reasons for concern than just severe sunburns. If you have had excessive UV exposure, you also run the risk of developing skin cancer. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa (CANSA), by the time people turn 70, 1 in 5 South Africans will have skin cancer. This can be prevented by using sunscreen, together with other sun protection measures. Besides using a SPF 30 (or higher) broad-spectrum sunscreen, make sure you also wear covering clothing, a hat and sunglasses and seek out the shade.

#2 Prevent sunburn and tanning

Sunburn prevention is one of the main advantages of using sunscreen. It also aids in preventing blistering, which can occur after prolonged sun exposure from being outside all day, especially if you are camping next to a dam where the sun reflecting on the water can cause even more damage to your skin. Your skin is shielded from the sun's damaging rays by the sunscreen.

#3 Avoid blotchiness

Without the right protection, being in the sun while camping at Vygeboom Dam’s OppiDam can lead to patchy and blotchy skin. Without sunscreen, you run a larger chance of developing melanin unevenness, which develops as a result of imbalances brought on by sun exposure during the warmest part of the day. Ensure that your skin is protected for a longer period of time by wearing sunscreen.

#4 Get vitamin D in a safer way

A daily dose of vitamin D is recommended. This means that it's crucial to obtain enough sunlight, which the body needs for vitamin D, even when you're camping. With the correct sunscreen, you may enjoy the sun and obtain adequate vitamin D without worrying about developing additional skin issues.

#5 Avoid sunstroke

Sunstroke can happen to anyone and all it takes is the body’s temperature hitting above 40°C. This may happen to you even when you have used sunscreen. If you are suffering from sunstroke, you may experience the following symptoms: • High body temperature • Flushed skin • Alteration in sweating • Altered mental state or behaviour • Nausea and vomiting • Headache • Rapid breathing • Racing heart rate. If you leave sunstroke untreated, you run the risk of causing serious damage to your heart, brain, kidneys, and your muscles. And the longer you wait to get treatment, the worse the complications can get. So, if you have any sort of feeling that you or someone you’re camping with has gotten sunstroke, you can try the following and if it does not help, be sure to get the person to a doctor or hospital a.s.a.p.: • Get inside the caravan or tent or in the shade immediately • Remove any additional layers of clothing to help them cool down • Use every tool at your disposal to help them stay cool, such as a fan, a cold shower, or ice packs.

Don’t go anywhere without sunscreen

Everyone in your family should wear sunscreen while camping, from the top of the head to the tips of the toes, on every exposed part of their body. Aim for sunscreen with an SPF of at least 30 or higher, and apply it at least 30 minutes before going outside. It is not sufficient to put it on only once a day. Reapplication is crucial while using this. You must reapply if you remain outside in the sun for more than two hours. You must also apply immediately away if you just went swimming or worked up a sweat. Waterproof sunscreen is not really waterproof, so reapply often. You can also pick a sunscreen that works with your chosen application method. You have a few options for sunscreen: lotion, spray, or even a stick. Sprays appear to be simpler to apply for children, but it's a question of preference as long as you apply a thick layer of whatever type of sunscreen you select. You want to be sure to put sunscreen on some key areas that are often overlooked such as the tops of the feet, back of the neck and knees and don’t forget the ears.

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