Sunburn represents one of the quickest ways to ruin a beach holiday. Not only can it be extremely painful; it can also cause permanent damage to your skin as well as greatly increase the risk of getting skin cancer. Lighter skinned people are the most susceptible to getting sunburned. Preparing yourself adequately will help you to have a much safer and more comfortable trip.

1. Wear a Hat and Scarf

When walking around sightseeing during the heat of the day, wear a hat and a thin cotton scarf to keep the sun off your face and neck. Even if you are wearing sunblock, it is a good idea to keep your face and neck out of the sun on occasion, particularly if you a spending a whole day outside. When on the beach but out of the water, keep a hat on to minimize your exposure.

2. Build Up Your Exposure

While a strong enough sunblock should prevent you from getting burned if used properly, it is always a good idea to build up your exposure and, if you want to try to get a tan, this is essential. Avoid spending too much time in the sun on your first few days abroad. Start off with short periods of no more than half an hour at a time and build up gradually. As you get a tan, sunburn becomes less likely.

3. Wear a Suitable Sunblock

The stronger the sunblock you wear, the more effective it will be. However, stronger sunblock also prevents you from getting a tan. If you want to get a tan, you’ll need to use a weaker sunblock while taking care to build up your exposure so to avoid getting sunburned on your first day or two abroad. Sunblock effectiveness is measured by the Sun Protection Factor (SPF) which ranges from about 5 to 50.

4. Familiarize Yourself with the Risks

Remember that sunburn is not only a risk when you are lying on a beach. You can get sunburned whatever you are doing and, it is often easy to forget about until it is too late. You can also get sunburned during fairly cloudy weather and in other situations where you might least expect it. Also remember that sunburn isn’t necessarily only a risk in hot weather. After all, you can get sunburned just as easily in Antarctica as you can in southern Spain in the middle of the summer.

5. Take Extra Care at High Altitudes

High altitudes are among the most hazardous places in the world for ultraviolet radiation. If you are going to high-up cities such as those in the South American Andes, you should be particularly careful. At higher altitudes, temperatures might be much cooler than they are at sea level, but the risk of getting sunburned is much higher regardless. Prepare yourself and realise that, without protection, you can get burned much quicker in the mountains.