Sailing is many different things to many different people, but I think we can all agree that it is primarily an outdoor sport. Outdoor activities do not come naturally to me, but I’m learning. This weekend, we sailed to Martha’s Vineyard with Sarah’s parents. We spent two whole days on the water, from dawn to dusk. I learned a few things about the sun. I would like to share some of these lessons with you, as sort of a public service announcement.
- UV rays can reflect off of water, snow, or sand. Sitting in the shade is no protection.
- One should re-apply sunscreen every two hours.
- When sunscreen gets old, it loses its efficacy.
I don’t use a lot of sunscreen. I would rather wear protective clothing, or burrow deep into the cool, moist earth in order to avoid the sun entirely. When I buy an eight-ounce tube of sunscreen, it takes me years to use it all. Conclusion: I need to buy sunscreen in smaller quantities, and use it in larger quantities.
I took my bright red legs to the Consumer Reports website, where I read this article. The bottom line: I am going to discard the remainder of my six-year-old tube of now-completely-worthless Coppertone Sport SPF 48 (goodbye, old friend) and purchase some No-Ad SPF 50.
You might be wondering if Nate got burned as well. Have no fear. Sarah, as always, is looking out for him. That Consumer Reports article was just published this month, but somehow she knew what it would say. She bought him a 16-ounce bottle of No-Ad SPF 45 Babies when he was six months old. Yes, it’s a little bit past its shelf life, but it still works. He survived the weekend without getting burned, and now that I know to look for the sell-by date, I’ll pitch it and get a new batch.
The only issue he has is this: when he is wearing his Thomas the Tank Engine hat and sunglasses, strangers tend to call him Thomas. Luckily, the sunglasses hide his disgust at their idiocy.