How Not to Ruin Your Summer Holiday: My Worst Ever Sun Burns

on July 19, 2017

I’ve had my fair share of sun burns so it may seem a bit ironic that I’m here to tell y’all about the importance of sun safety. But when Holiday Gems* asked me to partner with them on this campaign about summer sun safety, I knew I couldn’t say no. See – I have a family history of skin cancer, and that combined with my own reckless youth in sunny Michigan lakes makes me a likely candidate as well. Now that I’m a bit older (and hopefully wiser) I’ve committed myself to a life of sunscreen. There’s nothing like a good, hard, lobster-red “lesson learned” to shock you into a new healthy habit, amiright?

So today I thought I’d share with you two of my absolute worst stories of sunburn in an attempt to shock you all into healthy sun safety habits this summer!

1 | When Vampires Go in the Sun: circa 2008 I went on spring break to my Grandparent’s home on the coast of Florida, with the newly released Twilight book in tow, just like the cool kid I was. On the first day of vacation I went to the beach around 10am and began reading.  A sucker for vampire-werewolf-whiny human love triangles like I apparently was, I literally stayed on the beach all day until I finished the book. All 498 pages (yes, I did just google that). When I looked in the mirror that evening, I was bright red. Vampires die in the sun, and Sarahs turn into lobsters. The burn was so bad I couldn’t even bend my knees or shower, it was so painful. I didn’t sleep for two days because of the pain of the sheets on my body. Cue my Grandpa saying “told you so” for two weeks, to me slathered in Aloe Lotion. Vacation ruined. (And now I have traumatic flashbacks associated with Twilight).

2 | That one time it was actually sunny in England: this story is embarrassingly much more recent. In the last few years I have become much, much better about applying sunscreen. However, last summer we decided to go to the Tinside Lido, a sea pool in Plymouth. Classic England is rainy and grey 95% of the year, but that day the sun came out.  Maybe it’s because I was already in the pool when it got sunny, or because I hadn’t been burned in so long and forgot the pain, or just figured who gets burned in England?! But I didn’t put on sunscreen…. and boy, did I live to regret it. In fact… did you know you can actually get burned worse in England because it is at a higher latitude, receiving more direct sunlight? Who knew?!

debated putting this on the internet so don’t tell me i’m never real with y’all

So what’s the common theme here?

A simple decision to not put on sunscreen could literally ruin your entire holiday.

So from one traveler to another: it doesn’t matter what country you’re in or what time of day… sunscreen is so important!

an older & wiser sarah, happy and not sunburned in Florida

Here are some of my top tips for summer sun safety…

  1. Buy baby sunscreen: it’s usually higher SPF strength and cheaper!
  2. Wear sunscreen every single day: I use a facial moisturizer that has SPF30 in it, every day.
  3. Wear a baseball cap: these are actually really coming into style lately, and they protect your face from the sun!
  4. There is no such thing as a safe tan :'(
  5. Hydrate before caffeine/alcohol: sun can burn your skin but also dehydrate you and lead to confusion! You can keep your beachy pina coladas, just drink water first 😉
  6. Worse comes to worst…. Vaseline Aloe Fresh Lotion is a hero. This is my favorite brand from my Florida burned days.
  7. Check yo self before you wreck yo self: Ask your doctor for a referral to a dermatologist and get yourself checked for skin cancer each year. Your skin is your largest organ so don’t ignore it – it needs safety precautions just like going to the Dentist or eye checks!

For more tips, check out Holiday Gems’ post on summer sun safety tips (titled “The Lobster Look” LOL a look I am well acquainted with unfortunately).

sorry not sorry if my not-sunburned-ness (paleness) blinds you

coverin’ up!

I for one know that a sunburn can really make or break an entire holiday! I’ve made it to the end of July without any sunburn this year so I’m counting this as success, thanks to my trial and error of a lifetime of bad sun decisions. I hope some of these tips are helpful for y’all.

Do you have any summer sun tips? I’d love to know in the comments!



Sarah xx

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*I partnered with Holiday Gems to write this post. As always, all opinions are my own!
This post contains affiliate links. I am also linking up withLauren of Lauren on Location, Van of Snow in Tromso, Isabel of The Sunny Side of This, and Marcella of What a Wonderful World for Wanderful Wednesday. 

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