My husband and I honeymooned in Jamaica ten years ago. We had a fabulous time taking catamaran cruises, sunbathing, playing sand volleyball (and winning the international championship – woot!), learning how to wind surf, scuba diving. I also began to develop sun sensitivity.
The summer after our honeymoon I noticed that I would get these annoying itchy bumps on my arms, especially on my elbows and wrists, whenever I was out in the sun and got too hot. The student health center doctor didn’t think it looked like a sun allergy or a heat rash. Over the years it has gotten worse. It’s a horrible problem now but somewhat controlled through liberal and regular application of high-SPF sunscreen.
Here are some of the strategies I’ve developed over time. This isn’t rocket science, people. But do consider that your long-term health (and that of your children, especially if you drench them in sunscreen as I do) may be at stake.
- Spend 10 minutes in the sun without sunscreen every day. We all need vitamin D, and we certainly aren’t getting the minimum amount from our diets!
- Try to find a sunscreen with the least amount of unnatural ingredients. Use it to build up a base tan.
- Wear a hat and sunglasses.
- Sit in the shade when you can.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts when you’re hiking or gardening.
- Avoid the sun between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm.
The problem for me is that not only do I have this sun allergy, but also I have problems with melasma. Lucky me. So I ask again – what do I do now??