Gardeners' Lament: Sun in the Morning and Burn at Night
February 10, 2009
Allan in Gardening Tips & Advice, gardening advice, sun block, sun burn, sun screen

image courtesy of 'kids for saving"Our bodies need a certain amount of daily exposure to the sun in order to absorb essential Vitamin D. But, too much sun can lead to skin cancer. Protecting the body should be a fundamental goal of all gardeners.

Here’s how to be cautious in the sun:

1] Wear a wide brimmed hat that shades the face and neck.

2] Stand up the collar of the knit shirt you wear for gardening to protect part of the upper back and neck. Do not garden in a T shirt!

3] Try to garden before 10:30 A.M. and after 4 P.M.

4] Use both sun block and sunscreen

Sun block is a white opaque cream containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. It does not disappear after application but remains visible on the skin. It should be used on burn prone and sensitive areas such as the nose, lips, ears, shoulders, back of neck, and, if you wear prescription glasses, on the cheekbones as well. [corrective lenses magnify the rays of the sun and burn the cheeks.] Sun blocks are messier than sunscreens and may stain clothing so wear dark clothes that will not be significantly damaged by stains. Alternatively, if you prefer to garden in light clothing, wear old clothes that can take staining without regret or clothes that are bleachable.

Sunscreen is a lotion that vanishes after application but still keeps on working. A high numbered sunscreen, 30, 45 or 50, should be applied to the rest of the exposed skin namely: balance of face and chin, front of neck, the area where the neck meets the chest, arms and legs. [Actually, legs ought to be covered with pants and socks to avoid ticks and poison ivy.]

5]  Keep a squeezable container of Aloe Vera gel in the medicine cabinet.  Apply it after gardening on clean skin to areas that might have received too much sun.This preventive measure sometimes helps to avoid the burning discomfort that occurs at nightfall.

6] On very hot days, store bottles of water in a small picnic cooler filled with ice. Keep the cooler in a wheelbarrow so that it is handy at all times or use a cooler on wheels. Drink often! Rinse a hand towel in cold water, wring it out and store it in the cooler. Use it to mop a dripping forehead because the combination of perspiration and sunscreen may sting the eyes. Apply the cold towel to the back of the neck to cool down.

Article originally appeared on Garden Design, Montreal, Perennial Flower Gardens, Gardening Tips, Gardening Advice, Gardening Book Reviews (
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