Swimming with dolphins is an incredible experience that should not be passed up. People from all over the world flock to the Caribbean and other sunny spots just to be able to interact with these marine mammals. Of course, the areas that have dolphin swim programs are generally close to the equator, meaning they are closer to the sun all year round. Taking care of your skin is important, but it should be noted that sunscreen is not to be worn while interacting with dolphins.
As many of you may already know, most commercial sunscreens contain all kinds of harmful chemicals. The water in the lagoons where interactions take place is monitored and cleaned as often as needed, but it’s quite difficult to remove something like the chemicals found in sunscreen. The best thing you can do is simply not use sunscreen, which may mean washing it off before your dolphin swim program if you put it on beforehand.
One of the easiest ways to protect yourself from the sun without using sunscreen is to cover your body with clothes. Swimsuits may cover some parts, but they leave a lot of your skin exposed. Try wearing a long t-shirt to protect your shoulders, back, and torso from the sun during your program. It may not be very fashionable, but neither is a sunburnt back. There are even special laundry detergents with UV repellent which sticks to the fabric and keeps UV rays from penetrating it. When not in the water, you can wear a hat, sunglasses, and sit under an umbrella to keep your skin from burning.
Something to keep in mind is that the sun’s rays are just as strong on cloudy and cold days. Just because you don’t see the sun or feel it’s heat as much doesn’t mean you’re safe and won’t get a sunburn. Think about what skiers faces look like after they spend a day on the slopes. They end up pretty red and damaged if they don’t use sunscreen, because the sun can burn you no matter what season it is or what the weather is like. Protect yourself as if it was the hottest day in August, even if you see clouds and the weather is mild.
Another thing you can try, though it hasn’t been thoroughly researched and tested, is to eat certain things before sun exposure to prepare your skin. Foods high in lycopene, carotene, antioxidants, and omega-3 fatty acids are thought to help the skin repair itself faster after UV ray exposure. This means lots of fish, vegetables, green tea, and even dark chocolate. Of course, no one can really say for sure if this works, but it never hurts to eat better.
Using these tips, you should be able to enjoy your dolphin swim program without worrying about your health or that of the dolphins. The idea is that both parties have a safe and fun experience, so please do your part to ensure that this happens and do not use sunscreen.