When I was really young, all I ever wanted in summer was a good tan. I used to baste myself in the attempt to get golden, but all I ever got was pink. Having an English and Scottish background does not make for that perfect glow. Today, I am much more sensitive to the need to protect my skin while gardening.
High heat, driving winds, scorching light. These are my new normal in our current location. Once spring comes around, it is time to resort to a few sun protection items. Gardening in heat on our property is brutal and a recipe for skin cancer or heat exhaustion.
When we first moved here, one of the first items I got was a sun hat. On the other side of the state, the sunlight was watery at best and I didn’t need more than my daily SPF 15 moisturizer for protection. All that changed with a move across state. The summers here are intense, almost desert conditions at times. My little sun hat had a chin strap to keep it on in the wind. Seemed fool proof at the time but our winds change direction like mini cyclones. Time and again the hat was blown off and I had to run and chase it, or lose it to the whipping fury.
I gave up on the sun hat. Although it was a step in the right direction towards garden skin care, it was no match for those winds. I prefer to do something more useful than chase a hat across the dirt farm. Now I use an SPF 30 and reapply a few times a day. Maybe even more if my activities sweat the stuff off. Also, much like desert dwellers, light layers of clothing seem to keep me cooler than direct skin exposure. You will see me out in an old ankle length peasant skirt, playing in the dirt. The wind can cool me but the sun won’t get me.
The SPF helps towards garden skin care, but so does my ever present water. Our water is great here. Clean and crisp tasting. I am consistently toting my water bottle around with me everywhere. I would guess I drink around 8-10 bottles per day. While not technically sun protection, it keeps my skin hydrated and helps prevent heat exhaustion. I also tend to hibernate during the sun’s peak. Around 1:00 p.m., I am either doing indoor chores or curled up with a good book in the shade. I can get back out to play in the sun a few hours later when some shade begins to appear.
My sun protection is all about being sensible. If I get too hot, I go inside. If the sun is making my sunscreen run off, I apply more. I know sun exposure can be bad for you, but I love my Vitamin D. I just get it sparingly.