Sunscreen and Sunburn

Slip, Slop, Slap… We have all heard it a thousand times, and living in ‘The Sunburnt Country’ hopefully we think about it every time we step outside. Sunburn can occur in as little as 15 minutes in the Australian sun, and I dare say that even your shortest swim, ride or run is longer than that. But are we applying sunscreen every time we train? I know I am guilty of not doing it… And I have the freckles and tog tan to prove it.

Working in a beachside pharmacy I get lots of customers asking for advice on which is the best sunscreen. But lying on the beach, building sand castles and surfing requires different benefits/features to something you want to wear whilst training or racing. I have worked my way through the testers of nearly every sunscreen on the market. Some sting when they run in your eyes, lots were too thick and heavy and blocked my pores, others left me looking ghostly white for hours… But these two I love and have been using for a while now…

Invisible Zinc 50+

I use this on my face mainly because it’s one of the few sunscreens that doesn’t cause me to break out. It’s zinc based, provides good protection without leaving the skin feeling oily or gross and it doesn’t run in my eyes when I get sweaty.

Neutrogena Wet Skin 30+

I use this pretty much every day, or their Beach Defence Spray. It’s so quick and easy to use, smells nice and leaves your skin feeling fine. It can be applied to wet or dry skin so perfect to have in transition during longer triathlons where you need to reapply. Also perfect for wriggly kids that don’t want to dry off after a swim when it’s time for more sunscreen.

If you do happen to get burnt, not much is going to limit the long term damage but you can at least make yourself comfortable. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate, a product like Hydralyte will replenish the electrolytes as well as water lost. Sipping on it throughout the day will prevent/treat the headache I promise. Then some trusty aloe vera to replenish the moisture lost from your skin and hopefully minimise peeling. Hot tip: store your aloe in the fridge for extra cooling relief. If it’s really painful you can use a local anaesthetic spray such as Paxyl to numb the area. I find wine also helps with this, but that’s just me personally!