Its a tradition of Songkran, Thailand’s preimminent festival to go out, get wet, and feel refreshed. Some may be planning to out there already—the best spots around the country, which friends will be coming along, and what kind of water gun you might buy. But in planning for Songkhran, we cannot forget our skin. It’s important to be prepared. While you might go out and think all that wetness will protect your skin from the sun, you’ll be surprised at the end of the day when you see the damage the sun will cause. Here’s our tips to have a blast at Songkhran and keep your skin looking fresh and radiant.
- Pick a water fight before 10:00am in the morning or after 3:00pm in the afternoon. UV rays are the most concentrated between 10 and 3pm, which can make your skin feel dry and prone to wrinkles. Pick your waterfights carefully!
- Use SPF 50 PA +++ waterproof sunscreen on ALL exposed skin. Don’t forget to apply on the back of the neck, behind your ears and on the top of your feet—even if the sky is overcast, or there is lots of shade or you think it’s going to rain. You still need to apply sunscreen because UV radiation is always there as long as it is light out. Only sunscreen can protect your skin effectively, so apply sunscreen 20 minutes before going out and and reapply every two hours until you get back home.
- Before you get in a water fight, wear long sleeves, long pants, and fabric that is not thick or not too thin. Wear bright colors like red, yellow, green, blue, purple, but not black, dark blue with dark brown colors, because these can absorb sunlight. You shouldn’t wear light-colored clothing, primarily because once you get splashed with water, everyone will see everything—and I mean everything. And don’t forget your wide-brimmed hat for extra shade.
- Don’t wear socks or closed-toed shoes. If your feet are soaked in water for a long time, they will stay damp and your feet could develop a fungus. Foot fungus is also very difficult to treat.
- Try to avoid mixing different kinds of body powder, flour or chalk, which may contain substances that are harmful to the skin. Also, make sure players use clean water. Both can lead to acne or many kinds of skin infections.
- If you get in the back of a pickup truck, make sure you take a break at some point and drink water. This is a great way to enjoy the festival, but there is often no shade. Don’t stay too long in the back of the pickup. Drink water and keep your skin hydrated!
- After your get home, take a shower to reduce fungal infections.
Most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourself. Play carefully in the water and try to avoid alcoholic beverages. I wish all a happy Songkhran festival!