Beachgoers sizzle in the sunshine

By Kiri Gillespie

The summer season has really only begun in Tauranga, and already the sunshine during New Year festivities has claimed its fair share of casualties.

However, holidaymakers appear to be wising up to sun protection.

Mount Pharmacy owner Lorraine (Rainy) Donald said she had noticed an influx of sunburnt people coming in for soothing lotions at the beginning of the week when the sun was out.

"What I noticed was New Year's Day, everyone thought they'd have a little snooze in the sun. If you fall asleep in the sun, you're toast," Ms Donald said.

"I think people got a little bit excited when they saw the sun because it was raining before Christmas."

Ms Donald said a lot of younger women were snapping up self-tanning lotions instead of trying to tan the old-fashioned way. Mount Maunganui Surf Life Saving Club head lifeguard James Roy said they regularly had people asking for sun-screen.

"Lots and lots of people, upwards of 30 to 40 a day, come and ask for suncream which is fantastic."

The club provides free sunblock in large pumps at its beach stations.

"This summer we're noticing more people around but they are more covered up than in previous years."

Mr Roy said the worst example of failing to slip, slop and slap was the regular appearance of young women on the beach trying to even out their suntan.

"They have undesirable sunburn patterns and they will try to sit out in the sun and burn to even it out.

"We probably see that two to three times a week.

"Sometimes it's that bad it requires us to go and have a talk to them."

Mr Roy said people should be using sunscreen that was at least Sun Protection Factor 30.

Rachel Hudson, pharmacy technician at John's at Palm Beach Pharmacy, said staff had been especially busy with summer-related ailments over the past few days.

"We have been busy, mainly for sunscreen and antihistamines for insect bites. We've sold tonnes of antihistamines and bite cream for those sandfly bugs at Papamoa Beach," she said.

The store was also selling a lot of aloe vera gels for sunburn relief.



Tips for being sunsmart

SLIP into a long-sleeved shirt and into the shade. Generally, fabrics with a tighter weave and darker colours will give you greater protection from the sun. There are also certain fabrics on the market that have a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) rating.

SLOP on plenty of broad-spectrum SPF 30+ sunscreen at least 15 minutes before going outdoors.

SLAP on a hat with a wide brim or a cap with flaps - more people get sunburned on their face and neck than any other part of the body.

WRAP on a pair of wrap-around sunglasses - UV radiation is just as dangerous to eyesight as it is to the skin.


- Bay of Plenty Times

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