How not to burn to a crisp while snorkeling?

Old Jun 15th, 2004, 11:39 AM
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How not to burn to a crisp while snorkeling?

Please don't laugh . . . I am going snorkeling for the first time . . . in Belize. I'm not worried about that part, I figure if kids can do it, I can do it.

OK . . . here's what I am worried about . . .I have red hair and white white skin . . . other than arms and legs, no other parts have seen the sun in probably 30 years. I wear 50 sun screen everyday! I am afraid that I will burn to a crisp while snorkeling.

Here's the question . . . I know to take a t-shirt to wear to keep the sun off my back but, couldn't I wear a long-sleeve shirt and long pants and save all of me? I have nylon quick dry shirt and pants. I also have an old set of silk long underwear that I wear in cold weather . . . they fit closer to the body, how about wearing those? Am I going to look completely dorky?

The snorkeling will be at the very first of an 18-day trip so I don't want to be sunburned and miserable the entire time . . . we're also traveling by bus and need to pack light.

Anyone have any suggestions on how not to burn and how not to embarrass my companions?

Thanks in advance!
Sandy (in Denton)
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 12:17 PM
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Hi Sandy_b

I am also a red head with fair skin. So I think that I can relate. For starters wear a one piece swim suit with a high back. This will help with exposure, or a t-shirt would be fine. My one friend wears on all the time.

I don't think that you would have to wear long pants, you could wear a long sleeve shirt. The biggest thing I think is just make sure you reapply sunblock often, even if it is waterproof. What I forget is to get my back often, which of course has the most exposure when snorkeling. What I do now is just get out of the water after so long and reapply. If I were you also, and you have hair long enough to pull back in a low pony tail, I would do it. No part, because I have burnt the top of my head more often than I care to admit, because I forget and don't wear a hat or don't pull my hair back before swimming and have a part, that really hurts.

The other thing I would recommend is ask the tour operator if it is possible to rent a wet suit. This will pretty much keep the sun off from the neck down, with the exception of the hands.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 12:26 PM
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Take it from another red head, get yourself a wet suit. Costco even sells them now because they are so common. They have some with long sleeves and legs, they aren't as popular in the stores but you might want the extra protection of the long sleeves and legs. You'll see people all over in the water with them in Belize, they're popular for snorkeling and swimming in the ocean and a must for diving. You won't look like a dork but totally cool. They also have the benefit of extra bouyancy in the water which is a big plus.

Not only do I pack sunblock but I also buy some of the most heavist dutiest sunblock as soon as I get to my location. The reason being is because it usually has more potency at tourist areas since they are contantly replenshing these items in their stores, sunblock is only good for a year or more - be careful of your old stuff. Mariann
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 12:32 PM
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I just realized that you mentioned packing light, instead of a full blown wet suit, they have dive skins, which is maybe similar to what Mariann is talking about. They are thin, so they can fold up smaller and are perfect for snorkeling, I wear one under my wetsuit when I quarry dive here in Ohio to help keep me warm.

Try e-bay, you might be able to pick a new one up that someone never wore for less than the dive stores would sell them.

I am with you guys, I have sunblock in my car, so every where I am it goes. Although I usually only use 30 spf.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 12:36 PM
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Don't forget to cover your head. Wear bandana. My husband wears wetsuit and bandana. He looks very cool. Reapply your sun screen often.
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 01:28 PM
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Have never actually tried one before, but have heard good things about sun shirts.

They're made of the same material as swimsuits and don't get bulky in the water.

I read an article on the company below, but understand lots of companies make them.
http://www.sun-chasers.com/
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Old Jun 15th, 2004, 03:22 PM
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Travelsmith sells clothes with sunscreen already in the clothes. I also understand Ritz makes a solution in which to wash clothes for sun protection. I have never used either so can't give a review. Good luck.
 
Old Jun 15th, 2004, 04:33 PM
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I also recommend what is called a "skin" from a local dive shop or off of Ebay.
(I personally would go to a dive shop so you can try it on to avoid a problem with fit.)
These look basically like a unitard, they zip up the front or back (depends on your preference) and they also protect from unpleasant things like sea lice and fire coral and thimble jellies.
They are lightweight, dry much faster than wetsuits, and you can get all kinds of COOL colors and patterns.
You can get them off of Ebay for $10 to $20, or from a local dive shop for $30 to $50.
People always ask about ours on the snorkeling trips, and they have the added bonus of keeping you warmer when snorkeling.
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 05:44 AM
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I am also a redhead with fair skin and I just go tanning prior to a vacation in the sun. It takes me a lot longer to get a tan, and I have to start slowly and gradually increase my time, but I do end up with a tan - and it does help protect me from the sun. I know some people say tanning booths don't help, but I swear by it...it works for me!
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 05:55 AM
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First - you will not look "dorky" in anything you wear. I agree that dive skins are great for sun protection. They also protect you from jellyfish stings. However, I snorkeled for years in a long sleeve tee shirt and a pair of old black leggings. The vunerable place is the back of your knees. I also wear a bandana tied around my hair - it protects from the sun and keeps my long hair out of the way of my mask. Don't forget to tie a bandana around your neck as the back of the neck is also very vunerable and exposed. Skins are great if you will use them repeatedly - however, I disagree that they add any warmth. I find a tee shirt and leggings much warmer than the Lycra skins. It has to do with how water passes through the material.
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 06:38 AM
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And I disagree that one would not look DORKY snorkeling in a long sleeved shirt and black leggings, silk underwear or a shirt and long pants! HA!

I am SO sure no one would laugh at you - at all - coming out of the water with bandanas tied around your head and neck in addition to your soaking wet long underwear.

(It most likely would work, but Sandy was worried about looking silly - and she would.)

I could most likely show my horse in a football uniform too, but I prefer to look like I halfway know what I am doing.

If you have any concerns whatsoever about looking odd, $20 will buy you a skin, and you can later decide if you want to buy all of the equipment you need for the sport.

Incidentally, I have snorkeled all over Fl. and the Caribbean for years, and a dive skin can and does provide one with additional warmth both in the water (rain and/or breezes can get cool on the back also) and out of it.

The skin I have is black (absorbs the sun) has additional torso reinforcement for warmth, and a spine pad that also appears to keep me warmer.

Most also have kind of a turtleneck that comes up pretty far on the nape of the neck, and I also bought an "earwarmer" that is a neoprene headband with velcro (which matches my mask, fins, snorkel and skin of course ) to help keep my head warm.

Have a great time!
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 11:44 AM
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I have to agree with Diana on this one, dive skin definetly, especially if you do not want to look to much like an idiot. I would go to a dive store first, but I only say Ebay if this is a one time deal.

I have a black skin and it does help me with the warmth factor when wearing it alone. My has the high neck on it too.
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 01:58 PM
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Thank you all for your suggestions . . . I think I'll go over to Ebay and see what "dive skins" I can find . . . why look dorky when I can look like a pro . . . now, to do something about my shape (besides trying to hold everything in).

Thank you,
Sandy (in Denton)
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Old Jun 16th, 2004, 03:42 PM
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Also look under diveskin (one word).

Well, the black is slimming, and if you get one that's a bit heavier weight, they can be like a head to toe girdle. Yay!

It's better to get one that is a bit too large than a bit too small - especially through the rise - ouch!
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 04:48 AM
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O.K. all you dive pros.....dive SKINS do NOT have back padding and they do NOT come in varying thicknesses. Wetsuits do. Dive skins only add warmth if you wear them under a wetsuit. The lycra and nylon fabric mix funnels water away from the body and therefore carries bodyheat away from the body. You'll also be darned cool in a wet dive skin while riding on a boat so have something dry to put on over it.

I don't know what kind of group the posters snorkel with, but in the dive groups I've been with for 12 years - all over the world - no one would laugh at another diver/snorkeler with any kind of gear. I guess they are more interested in the dive than they are in the fashion.

Sandy, dive skins are very nice and nice looking. If you can get one cheap and you think you'll use it a lot, by all means do so. However I will say again, use whatever you want and I guaranty no one will say a word - unless you happen to get Diana or Peg in your group that is.
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 07:00 AM
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TC,

I PERSONALLY own a diveskin made by a company called Sharkskins that DOES have back padding (in case you want to wear it to SCUBA) and DOES have an extra layer in the torso area.

I have been diving for 15 years, and have all kinds of dive equipment and skins and suits in varying thicknesses and sizes, so I DO know just a little bit about the equipment I use when I go diving (as opposed to someone who wears a shirt and leggings when snorkeling).

I own four different dive skins, and I can assure you that there are many different qualities and thicknesses of lycra, and that one brand's $30 diveskin is much different than another's $75 dive skin.

(btw TC, you're not a diver are you?)
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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Diana, Usually you and I agree, but here the subject needs some clarification. Your "Sharkskins" are not what is typically sold as dive skins. Sharskins are commonly referred to as "rash guards" used for many kinds of exposure sports - they are made of a 16oz. Poly-Pro material which does not absorb water. Dive skins are made of a 6.5oz. nylon/lycra material which does absorb water. Skarkskins are not sold for $10 - $20 anywhere.

http://www.sharkskinsusa.com/about.htm

http://www.diversdirect.com/item/Evo...20Skin_ID32800
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 08:54 AM
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TC,

No, the Sharkskin was not $20, but I have seen them on Ebay for that amount.

The one I have is an older model (5 yrs +) and is not what you found on their website. It was made especially for diving and snorkeling, and has a spine pad and is most certainly not a rashguard. (I know what those are - I used to surf.)

My point (which I stated before) was that you can purchase skins for $20 or you can purchase skins for $75.

Some do have extra features for abrasion protection, and I find they keep me warmer (as another poster also mentioned) in the water. The $20 models are cheaper, thinner lycra, while the more expensive ones with extra features are thicker lycra that hold their shape through repeated dunkings.

I guess I'm having a tough time understanding why you - who says a dive skin is not necessary and presumably has never worn one - are arguing with the three other people who have worn them and suggest them for the purpose the op asks. :-?
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 09:32 AM
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sandy b, I agree with TC on the fact that I don't think anyone would laugh. I really wouldn't think twice of seeing someone in pants and a shirt in the water. If all I had was my sun block with me I might even think "why didn't I think of that?" The sun in Belize will be intense. However regarding the silk long underwear, I don't know how you were thinking of wearing it but I would guess it is pretty see through-ish when wet. I'm guessing you were going to put it over your suit? I don't know the sunblock factor with this.

I didn't notice you stating that you wanted to pack light when I first read your post and responded. A wet suit would take up too much room in your suit case. There is something to be said for traveling light, particularly if you're on the move. I have used a wet suit in the past and have loved it, they are very comfortable, most boats probably carry them on board to rent - you could probably find this out in advance since you already have your itinerary booked. It would be one less thing to pack. I don't know much about the "skins" but am getting a great education with TC's and Diana's debate. I've seen them but am clueless - thought they were sometype of wet suit, I would like to know more. I might buy one myself. I wonder if a dive skin is made very much like long johns, just a little more heavy duty?

The bottom line will be to wear what's comfortable and practical for you. At least you could get extra mileage from a t-shirt and leggings should you pack it. The skins sound nice but are you only going to wear it only once? or do you have a lot of water sports planned?
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Old Jun 17th, 2004, 09:42 AM
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Hi Mariann,

Here's a mid to upper priced skin that will give you an idea of what they look like.

(They're most like a unitard with a zipper.)

http://www.divebooty.com/equipment_details.asp?pid=5754

Here are some - WHOA!!!! - "fancy" ones!

http://www.divegoddess.com/SkinPicsColouge.html

(Even I - the "match all my gear Queen" would not wear one of these - yipes!)
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