There is nothing quite like a summer spent with your loved ones going wine tasting in beautiful and secluded vineyards. Whether you are in Mendocino wine country or Napa Valley, there are two things you will always find in abundance beside the wine: good company and heat, lots and lots of heat.
Time flies when you are having fun, which makes it easy to neglect your health when on the trail. It is essential to keep tabs on how long you spend in the sun and to know what you need to protect yourself.
Why is skin protection important?
Every minute you spend in the sun, you are exposing your skin to UVA and UVB rays. Besides causing skin cancer, which is the most common type of cancer in the US, exposure to UV rays also causes other forms of skin damage, wrinkles, and premature aging.
And let's not forget sunburn. While this is the most immediate and painful side-effect of prolonged sun exposure, it is not the worst thing to consider. Sunburn, which is caused by UVB rays, may hurt for a little while or at most a few days, but wrinkles are for life.
Just because the sun is out, it does not mean you should not enjoy a day out in the vineyard. On the contrary, being out amongst nature is good for the body; you just need to know how to protect your skin.
How to protect your skin from the sun
When it comes to protecting your skin from harmful rays, the most important thing you need to do is apply good sunscreen regularly.
There are several factors to consider when looking for sunscreen:
Broad spectrum – this means the sunscreen will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays. While UVA rays have more side effects, both can cause skin cancer.
Sun protection factor (SPF) – SPF does just as the name suggests – it lets you know how well protected you are from the sun. The minimum recommended is SPF 30, which protects you from 97% of the sun's radiation. Note that no sunscreen protects you from 100% radiation.
Water resistance – water resistant sunscreen will keep you protected for up to 40 minutes of sweating or playing in the pool. Very water resistant can protect you for up to 80 minutes. Irrespective of the water resistance factor in your sunscreen, always be sure to reapply after spending time in the water.
Once your sunscreen has ticked all the right boxes, you are ready to purchase and apply. Unlike make-up, sunscreen does not last all day, so it is advisable to reapply after every two hours of sun exposure.
Sunscreen should be used all-year-round, even during winter visits. The rays of the sun are just as harmful in sub-zero temperature. As long as the beams are getting to you either directly or even through a window, you need to be adequately protected.
The only time you don't have to use sunscreen is when you are already using a product that has SPF 30 or higher, such as foundation or facial cream.
Wear The Right Clothes
Another way to protect yourself from the sun is to choose appropriate clothing. Long sleeves cover and therefore preserve more of your skin. Hats are great as they protect you from direct heat, and keep your head cool.
Other things you need to consider are tightly woven fabrics, as these offer better protection from UV rays. You should also wear dark colored clothing, as they provide better protection.
Sunglasses with UV protection are perfect for any type of weather, but more so for the blistering heat. They are the only way to protect your eyes and the skin around them effectively, so don’t leave home without them.
Stay In The Shade
As often as you can during your tour, find some shade, and enjoy it. As much as we enjoy soaking up every bit of sunlight we can while on vacation, it is not a good idea.
Instead, steal a few minutes or hours to spend time away from any direct contact with natural light.
Finally, make sure you drink plenty of water. While this may not protect your skin from cancer, it does protect you from dehydration, which can happen when consuming alcohol, and that can be just as important.
Keep a water bottle with you and keep it full at all times when the sun is out, but don't drink so much that you don't have space for the actual reason for your trip.