How to protect your skin while camping

Protect your skin

Camping is fun but it can quickly turn into a bad experience if you have not brought along the essentials. Most of us have a camping gear checklist which we used to ensure we do not forget to bring all that we need. But does your checklist also contains all that is needed to protect your skin? In this article, we will take a detailed look at what problems your skin can face while camping and what you need to take care of it.

Skin challenges and how to protect your skin while camping

Protection from the sun

Being out in the sun may have been the reason for you to go out camping but not taking the right precaution out in the sun can ruin your whole camping experience. Too much exposure to the sun can damage your skin and lead to discoloration, premature aging, wrinkles and in some cases to serious conditions like skin cancer. With the right care, you can stay safe and enjoy your camping experience at the same time.

When packing for your camping, make sure you pack a good broad spectrum sunscreen. General sunscreens can only protect again UVB rays but a broad spectrum sunscreen can protect against UVA rays as well which is known to cause more damage. A sunscreen with an SPF(sun protection factor) of 30 or more is ideal and is recommended by dermatologists. The SPF number is the factor by which your skin is protected from the burning radiation of the sun rays. So a sunscreen with SPF 30 means that only 1/30th of the sun’s burning radiation reaches the skin when the sunscreen is applied evenly. So if a person takes 5 minutes to get a burn without a sunscreen, it will take 150(5×30) minutes for him to feel the same burn with a sunscreen with an SPF of 30.

Some sunscreen creams in the market contain non-ecofriendly and biologically harmful chemicals. So look at picking a sunscreen that is safe, non-toxic and eco-friendly. Some of the best options to consider are:

Protection from poisonous plants

Coming into contact with poisonous plants like poison sumac, poison ivy or poison oak can irritate your skin and can lead to the development of rashes, redness, bumps, swelling or blisters. When going out camping, it is always advisable to check for what kind of local plantation exists in the area you are visiting. Knowing is the first step in preparation. Make yourself aware of how these plants look so that they can be avoided and what is the treatment against them. There are some pre-contact solutions available in the market such as IvyX pre-contact lotion that you can apply beforehand to prevent against poison ivy or poison oak. In case you come in contact with any of these plants, wash the area effectively with water and soap. You can relieve redness and itchiness with the application of over the counter cortisone cream or gel. Some creams also contain aloe vera which soothes the itchiness and reduces the swelling.

Protection from bugs and insects

Your camping ground is already home to many bugs and insects like mosquitoes, spiders, ticks and gnats. Generally, an encounter with mosquitoes can leave you not only with an itchy bite or two, sometimes they can lead to serious illness like malaria and dengue depending on where you live. Protection from insects is very simple and you need to ensure that you follow these simple tips,

Use insect repellents. While going out camping, make sure you pack an insect repellent containing DEET. Use this before heading outdoors.

You can consider the following popular options:

Use protective clothing. Protect yourself while wearing long sleeves and pants when heading outdoors. There are different kinds of camping and hiking clothes that provide you with sun protection while at the same time absorbing moisture and allowing your skin to breathe. This insect blocker shirt from Columbia has 15 SPF sun protection and insect repellent built into the fabric.

Choose your camping place with care. Mosquitoes lay their eggs in standing water and puddles. While choosing your camping location, ensure that there are no water puddles and standing water around.

Time your outing. Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn, ensure that you stay indoors during this time to minimize your exposure to them.

Minor wounds

Camping and other outdoor activities are accompanied by cuts and bruises but don’t let that stop you from having some fun. Always carry a well-equipped first aid kit. You can consider the following options available in the market:

If you experience a minor cut or bruise follow these tips:

Stop the bleeding. The first thing to do with any wound is to ensure that you stop the bleeding. Normally blood starts clotting on its own if it doesn’t apply pressure on the wound with a clean towel or bandage to stop the bleeding.

Clean the wound with clean and cold water. If any dirt remains in the wound, remove it using a disinfected tweezers.

Disinfect the wound. Apply an antibiotic cream or gel to kill any bacteria and prevent further growth.

Cover the wound with a clean bandage to prevent any further exposure to dirt, debris, and bacteria.

As with any medical condition, keep an eye on it. If symptoms are not relieved, seek immediate medical assistance.

Final thoughts

In this article, we saw some of the most common tips to protect your skin during camping, hiking or backpacking. We also looked at some of the best essentials available in the market. Update your packing checklist to include these items so that you do not have a bad skin day. We hope you found this article useful. Happy camping!

2 thoughts on “How to protect your skin while camping

  1. Good info on sunscreen, your site takes to EltaMd product which is a zinc oxide based sunscreen. Though its good and I use it personally but it is dense and clearly visible on the face (for those who care). Also, good that you mention the relation between time and spf rating, proving the point that sun screens have to be repeatedly applied over a period of time.

    1. Thanks for the info Rushikesh. I agree that zinc oxide based sunscreens don’t get absorbed easily into the screen but they are claimed to offer better protection.

      The most common mistake that people end to make is apply the sunscreen once and forget about it. Sunscreen can be undone by washing and over time.

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