How Do You Enjoy the Beach with Lupus?

We are going to the beach for a few days and I am worried about the sun giving me problems. I haven’t been to the beach or outside much since I was diagnosed with lupus.  I want to have a good time but I don’t want to have a lupus flare. What can I do?

Does this sound familiar? Do you want to enjoy the beach, but are afraid the sun is going to cause a lupus flare? Do you dread having your lupus symptoms while on vacation? There are some precautions you can take to minimize the risk of a lupus flare and allow you to enjoy your outdoor excursion!

Protect Your Skin with Sun Block

Regular sunscreen may not work well enough for all lupus patients. That is why you should use a sunscreen that has both a physical and chemical block. The chemical block “denatures” the sun’s rays, reducing the risk of damage or depigmentation to occur. The physical block acts the same way a beach umbrella does and prevents the sun’s rays from ever reaching your skin. Choosing a sunscreen that has both a chemical and physical block provides you with more full protection.

Sun Protective Clothing

If you plan on being outside, try and wear clothing as much as possible. I know you want to get some color on those pale toes, but this will help prevent your skin being directly exposed to the sun, reducing the chance of lupus symptoms. Some clothing will still allow the sun to penetrate the fibers, so you may want to look into “sun protective clothing.” Coolibar is a great site that offers UPF 50 sun protection built into the clothing.

Shaded Areas

Sometimes the beach doesn’t offer much shading, other than what you bring, so try and always carry umbrellas, or even a canopy for your area. If you can find a naturally shaded area or the beach offers shaded amenities, you should always take advantage of the shade to prevent lupus symptoms from direct exposure to the sun. After all, that’s the end goal: enjoy the sun, without being in it!

Avoid Direct Exposure to the Sun

This may sound counter intuitive but it is possible to enjoy the sun without being directly exposed. It is the ultraviolet rays of the sun, and fluorescent lamps, that cause lupus patients to become irritated. You can enjoy the warm rays of the sun without them coming into direct contact with your body. The warm beach air and the heat of the sand beneath your towel will give you the outdoor sensations you are looking for. Don’t forget, the sun’s rays don’t only come directly down, they reflect also! The sun’s rays can reflect off the water’s surface, so make sure to keep yourself covered while in the water and on the beach as well. Get yourself a pair of nice beach umbrellas, plop yourself down on the shore and enjoy the ocean, sun and the great outdoors!


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