British TV weather forecasts now include 'sunburn warnings', during the spring and summer. On a sunny day it is typical to get a 20 minute exposure before starting to burn on these forecasts. Looking around any popular holiday resort it is obvious that these warnings have been left at the airport. Every morning during the summer there is a queue of 'fluorescent red' visitors waiting for our local chemist (Playa de las Americas) to open. Perhaps it is a trait of the British (and other Europeans) that they would rather suffer and then seek treatment than get it right by proper planning. We would hope that users of "Walk!" guidebooks have more sense, but just in case we include our guide to 'Sunburn & Sunstroke' in most of our guides. If you don't want to join the queue at the chemists here is how we do it;
don't rush! Even in a one week holiday you have plenty of time to acquire a golden tan without having to burn. Avoid the traditional approach of trying to get a full tan on the first day and let your tan develop during your holiday.
use a 'protective sun lotion with an appropriate factor level' on all exposed skin when in the sun. This applies when walking about as well as 'sunbathing' and when driving in a convertible (see Hire Cars).
our motto is 'Walk in the Sun, Rest in the Shade'. Always give your body time to recover from its exposure to the sun before going out in it again. Easily said but a lot of sunburn comes from relaxing on a sunny bar terrace.
avoid dehydration by drinking plenty of fluid, water not lager!
wear a hat and sunglasses. Sunstroke comes from prolonged exposure, and is accelerated by dehydration and a lack of eye protection.
when you get back to your accommodation, shower and apply a moisturiser/after sun so that your skin doesn't 'dry out'.
Take your time and enjoy the spectacle of other people with their daft sunburn; 'Red Biscuit', red one side white the other - fell asleep nose up (or nose down) on the beach/sunlounger. 'Noughts and Crosses' - sunbathing in a string vest; 'Reject from the World of Leather' - spends every minute sunbathing, possibly with plenty of moisturiser, and ends up looking like a badly stuffed old leather sofa; 'Suzuki Red' - fluorescent red head from driving all day in a convertible; 'Red Nose, Red Knees' - mark of a bar terrace drinker.
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