Planning a Family Holiday – Look After Your Skin

January 18, 2013By

A family vacation can quickly turn into a monumental disaster without proper planning, as any Chevy Chase movie or Calvin and Hobbes strip will tell you. But one thing that’s often forgotten is good skin care. Going on a trip often means traveling into places with vastly different climates that can be brutal for your skin. People who forget about this often end up in absolute misery, sick from sun poisoning or suffering from cracked, bleeding skin in cold dry weather. Preexisting skin diseases and disorders can also become much worse under certain conditions and make family members wish they’d never come. Plan to prevent these catastrophes and your trip should be comfortable and enjoyable.

Adventures Up North

On a ski and snowboard trip, many people think cold and forget that you can still get badly sunburned. Snow reflects UV rays, and on a sunny day you’ll be getting crisped from above and below. Add in the dry air and high winds as you coast down the slope and you might as well be sitting in a convection oven! Wear sunscreen and protective goggles, and consider wearing a ski mask or otherwise completely covering your face even if it seems warm enough that you won’t need it.

If your skin will be frequently exposed to the dry air, you may experience severe dry skin problems. The situation is often made worse by heaters indoors. Try to find the best lotion for dry skin possible before heading on your vacation. You can also combat this problem indoors by setting up a humidifier in your room, or simply by putting out pans of water to slowly add moisture to the air. If you take the latter option be sure not to leave their handles sticking out where people might walk into them!

Fun in the Sun

A more common problem for children is sunburn. Be careful to strictly enforce the use of sunscreen, and make sure everyone has some help from someone else, or you’ll all end up with one blistered red patch in the center of your otherwise-healthy backs!

Waterproof sunscreen is a wonderful invention, but there can be problems with it. Some people are allergic to it, so be sure that everyone tests the product you plan to use before you head out—use small amounts on areas that won’t be dangerous or painful. However, you may get to a place where you’re not allowed to use these anyway! Many tropical locations have delicate ecosystems that the chemicals in sunscreen can damage. If this is the case, limit swimming time to short bursts with rests in the shade in between, and wear a shirt when you go in the water. Make sure it’s a shirt you don’t love too much if you’re swimming in the ocean, as the salt can quickly destroy clothing.

Over the River and Through the Woods…

Camping trips probably have the possibility for more unpleasant surprises than any other family vacation. The most obvious skin problems you’ll face, after eliminating the risk of sunburn, are bug bites. They’re itchy and unsightly, and a black fly bite in the wrong spot can lead to so much scratching that a frustrated individual can tear the skin and cause scarring. On top of that, there’s the risk of disease, which varies depending on where you are. Limit your risks by wearing light, long-sleeved clothing and using bug spray with DEET, but be sure to use products with low concentrations on children under the age of 12. Don’t use this spray on infants. Finally, carry a mild bug bite anesthetic for when bites and stings happen anyway.

Be sure to plan for the possibilities of unknown allergies, poison ivy, and more as well—at the very least, carry Benadryl. The best part of camping is getting in touch with nature, but remember that nature doesn’t always play nice!

Research the area you’ll be staying in and plan for all skin and health problems you might encounter. With a solution to just about everything on hand, you and your family will be able to focus on enjoying your stay and making the sort of memories you want to have!

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