There is a science to preventing sunburns while floating along the rivers, rides, and waves at Schlitterbahn. Here are some tips from the folks at Schlitterbahn on how to stay cool, but not crispy, during the dog days of summer:
Wrap it up. As anyone with a good tan line can attest to, the best protection from the sun is clothing. Hats in particular are great for kids, who can end up with sunscreen in their eyes when the sweat hits those little heads.
Of course generally clothes aren’t practical in a waterpark. While Schlitterbahn allows guests to wear pants and shirts, loose clothing is considered a hazard on some rides. Recommended waterpark wear is of the swimsuit variety, so guests need a plan B - sunscreen.
Bugs, then Sun. Bugs happen and mosquitos and other flying biters love waterparks despite everyone’s best efforts to swat them away. Apply your bug spray first, then your sunscreen.
Guys burn too. Sunscreen is a big problem with guys, as in most of them don't wear it. According to the Environmental Working Group "in 2009, nearly twice as many American men died from melanoma as women. Surveys show that 34 percent of men wear sunscreens, compared to 78 percent of women."
Gentlemen, it's radiation. Seriously. Wear your sunscreen.
Don't rely on SPF. SPF ratings are, well, over-rated. According to WebMD, SPF refers to the ability of a sunscreen to block ultraviolet B (UVB) rays, which cause sunburns, but not UVA rays, which are more closely linked to deeper skin damage. And it has nothing to do with the time you can spend in the sun. An SPF 15 product blocks about 94% of UVB rays; an SPF 30 product blocks 97% of UVB rays; and an SPF 45 product blocks about 98% of rays. So start with an SPF of 30 and reapply. SPF 100 doesn’t last more than a couple of hours, just like SPF 15. The Environmental Working Group has information on what ingredients to avoid.
Consider the tube. We see a lot of sunburned chests in the Texas Hill Country. That's because when you’re tubing, you lie back in the water and never really feel the full impact of the sun. Reapply sunscreen on your chest and belly area specifically. That nose could probably use another swipe, too.
Cream vs. spray. We were on the spray-on bandwagon too - until we got our first burn. Not only can you inhale the sunscreen (which is not particularly effective or healthy), you can't always see the spots you miss. Of course if you have squirmy kids you may have to opt for spray - just be sure to reapply it more often.
Remember, a bad sunburn is completely preventable. Keep yourself covered in some form of sunblock, and all you should take home from Schlitterbahn is a collection of great memories - and an intact epidermis.