Spare a thought for the people who get sunburnt easily
Our hardest time of year is here
For most people, summer is a time of promise: the promise of endless afternoons on roof terraces, of water fights in buzzing parks, and of long days spent lounging in the sun on sun loungers.
But for those who are easily sunburnt, summer brings with it a new danger – and as the clouds part and the first rays of light spill through, we scuttle back into the shadows like vampires.
So please, while you’re enjoying a frozen margarita on the balcony, spare a thought for the troubles of the pasty folks allergic to the sunlight.
There’s never enough suncream
Upon reaching a beach or a pool, most people will grin, kick their flip-flops off, and go bounding into the nearest body of water with reckless abandon. Not us.
We’ll be waiting on the beach for 20 mins as the slick coat of grease we’ve applied from head to toe sets in – and that’s after the 10 minutes it takes to put on. 50+ on the face, neck and shoulders, 30 everywhere else, and a tentative 20 on the shins or forearms if you’re really feeling risky.
Reapplication is a way of life
Dip in the pool? Reapply your suncream. Quick trip to the bar? Reapply your suncream.
Drop an ice cube down your chest? REAPPLY YOUR SUNCREAM.
Your friends will become so tired of “can you do my back?” that they’ll start refusing to come away with you altogether.
Even a small amount of time in the sun is deadly
Let’s go out in the pub garden, they say. A couple of hours in the English sun isn’t going to do much, they say.
Clearly they don’t know you very well at all: no matter how late in the day it is, how weak the sun seems or how many clouds are obscuring it, it will get you – and no amount of after-sun will save you from its scalding grasp.
All holiday photos are ruined
Oh, doesn’t Bella look nice? I love the tousled beach hair. Look at Daisy too! She’s positively glowing.
And what abou-OH MY CHRIST WHAT IS THAT CRAYFISH/MAN HYBRID AND HOW IS IT SO RED??
We always have to spend at least one day inside
“It’s your own fault,” Mum would always say, as you sat in the hotel lobby peeling your scaly shoulders while your bronzed brother and his equally golden new friends splashed around in the pool outside.
There is nowhere that escapes the burn
No part of your body remains unburnt – there are merely places which get less burnt. Areas to watch out for include the skin around your armpits, the tops of your feet and, of course, the poor ridges of your ears. You don’t want those guys blistering.
You know how it’s impossible to apply suncream around your eyes? Well you better start trying, unless you want searing red panda marks branded into your sockets. Better to risk the sting of the lotion than the sting of blistered eyelids.
People will, without fail, draw smiley faces on our skin
Yes, when you press down on my blistering red skin it goes white. That doesn’t mean you should.
We burn around our clothes
Choose what you wear carefully, because a sheet-white brand of its shape will remain on your skin for several days after. Novelty sunglasses, string vests and gladiator sandals are all off limits for this reason.
Note: the same goes for falling asleep with your iPhone on your stomach.
Aftersun is an addiction
As that ice cold, silky liquid rolls over your butchered body for the third time in an evening, you’re briefly transported into a soft, kind world where nothing hurts and everything is OK.
Then the initial cooling wears off, and you’re reminded that all 15 million degrees of the sun’s heat seems to be contained in your forehead and the back of your neck.
There’s no in-between stage
There are two versions of yourself:
A) You are so white you look like you’re either ill, dead, or carved out of candle wax.
B) You are so red you look like you’ve been turned inside-out and pelted with beefsteak tomatoes.
Neither is ideal.
Yet we still risk it every time
You can guarantee the thought will creep into your head next time you’re within a mile of a beach: this time I’m going to get a tan.
Basing your first day in the sun on the slightly skewed memory that every time you burn you “end up tanning on top”, you’ll stroll out by the pool with nothing more than a conservative lick of factor 10 tanning oil.
Six hours later you’ll be wincing your way through dinner, before having to try and sleep sitting up because the fresh cotton sheets against your tender back may as well be made of scorpions.