Whether you’re lounging by your hotel pool, basking on the beaches, golfing, sailing or snorkeling, the Miami Beach sun will be your relentless travel mate. Meteorologists estimate the sun in Florida shines two-thirds of the time sunlight is possible — not surprising since Florida is the nation’s southernmost state except for Hawaii. Here then are some tips to help you cope with the Florida sun and allow you to tan sensibly…
Always wear sunblock! The importance cannot be overemphasized, especially in Florida. If you’re participating in an open-air activity, not just sunbathing, always apply sunblock.You need a good commercial sunblock with a high sun protection factor (SPF). SPFs now range from 0 to the mid-40s. The higher the SPF, the better the protection. Most experts advise using oils and lotions with an SPF of 15 or above. For maximum benefit, a sunblock should be applied anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours before sun exposure.
South Pointe Park, 10th Street Beach or Haulover Beach — whatever your Miami Beach choice, the best times for tanning rays are 8:30 to 11 a.m. and after 3 p.m. Don’t be fooled by taking dips in the water. Sunlight penetrates water readily, as many a snorkeler with a burned back will attest. Wet skin is more easily burned. Also, swimming and a vigorous towel dry will often wash off sunblocks — even those advertised as waterproof can be toweled off inadvertently — so remember to re-apply.
Regardless of your outdoor pastime, don’t overlook the effects of reflected sunlight — especially from white sand, white painted surfaces, concrete and, to a lesser extent, water. Even under a hat or umbrella, you’ll be getting color.
If you do get burned, mild sunburn may be treated by cold soaks applied for 10 to 20 minutes two to four times daily. Tap water or milk may be used. Soaks can be followed by soothing creams or lotions such as aloe vera. For more serious burns, call a local dermatologist or your hotel physician. And by all means, if you get burned, stay out of the sun unless you apply an SPF 15 sunblock first.