Incurably Curious

The World’s Worst Sunburn

Icon25-SunburnTwo days into my holiday I let myself get myself get hideously, horribly burnt. I didn’t even realise it was happening; I was laboriously applying sun screen every 45 minutes (laboriously because I was using products with SPFs of 30 and 50 and that shit goes on like treacle) and sucking down more fluid than a thirsty fresher. That is, until about 4pm when suddenly I sat bolt upright and realised that a good proportion of my skin was crimson. Like really red. Redder than a king crab with carpet burn. Aesthetically, the tan lines are an absolute disaster. The day I got myself broiled at Typhoon Lagoon I was wearing a triangle print bikini top and the contrast is spectacularly bad. It’s a good thing I own a lot of V-necks because there’s no way I can wear anything else for a good few weeks without looking conspicuously two-tone. Similarly, my luminously white arse was now competing with the red glow of the surrounding sunburn on what I like to call ‘the under-buttock’. Once some of it started to go brown, my entire back end started to resemble a giant, fleshy Neopolitan ice cream. I’d love to have taken a picture as a lesson to everyone else but frankly putting naked photographs of myself on the internet is just not something I can bring myself to do. (Talking about getting a bikini wax and the outsize Rampant Rabbit I once accidentally bought in a fit of drunken lunacy is totally okay though.)

Having said that, I have been talked into putting up this image that my holiday buddy Carla took of me just after we’d come in from under the sun (and I’d changed into a different shaped bikini). Let it be a lesson to you all:

I admit I’m not looking my best, but yup, those are real tears, folks. Real tears and gallons of aloe vera gel. I am one sore-ass fucker. Except my face, astonishingly, which didn’t burn at all throughout the entire holiday, although it’s hard to see in this frankly DEVASTATINGLY ATTRACTIVE photograph because of the light. Honestly, if this isn’t capable of launching a thousand ships I have no idea what will. I might get it framed. I was actually so burned that I was used as a sort of mobile poster child for proper sun protection; two days after this photo was taken we went on a boat trip to swim with some wild manatees – which was absolutely amazing, by the way, if you’re ever in Florida get in touch with the guys at Fun 2 Dive – and our guide, Captain Joe, made me stand on the the prow of the boat to show his partner across the bay, Captain Bill, my flagrant disregard for the sun and its terrible potency. “But I was using factor 50!” I bleated feebly, “every hour!”
“Gee, that’s some A-Mazing sunburn you got there!” one middle-aged lady shouted across to me, ignoring my protests. “What were you doing, baking? You need to use some sun cream! Brody? BRODY. Get out here now, there’s a girl out here with some A-Mazing sunburn! You need to get yourself some aloe to go on that. It looks mighty sore. Like really sore. Is it sore?”

I put my face not burning down to the incredible mineral SPF 30 I was using from Jason. It’s quite thick for a second or two when you get it out of the tube, but then it melts a bit and goes in quite easily. Weirdly, I used a Soltan SPF 50 on my body (the Jason stuff is non-clogging so I wanted to save it for my mug to avoid holiday break-outs) and ended up looking like this, which proves it’s not just the SPF that matters but the quality of the product too. After all, there’s less than 1% difference in the amount of UV rays blocked by SPFs 30 and 50 (but more like a 5% difference between SPFs 15 and 30). These mineral sunscreens aren’t necessarily more expensive than your bog-standard sun cream, but they are so much more effective, kinder to the environment and also won’t break you out into a zit monster when you’re on holiday.

Once you’ve been totally dicked on by Soltan’s inadequate sun protection, aftercare is very important too. Even if you haven’t burned, moisturising is essential after you’ve been out in the sun, otherwise one day y’all end up looking like dehydrated beef briskets. I had Americans left, right and centre telling me to go and get myself some ‘aloe’, complete strangers in the queue for the rollercoaster advising me how to soothe my poor, sore skin. They were right though, it’s bloody good.

Please, learn from my mistakes! Spend your money on a high-quality, mineral SPF 30 sunscreen rather than a cheaper one with a higher SPF. I’d really recommend Jason – I wish I’d used it all over my body instead of just my face – but I’ve heard great things about Badger Balm’s range too. Use SPF 30 even if you don’t burn; UV rays will still penetrate your skin, accelerating the ageing process and increasing your chances of getting skin cancer. And nobody wants that.

11 comments on “The World’s Worst Sunburn

  1. Vintage Fee
    June 30, 2012

    Good lord that looks painful. I will most definitely be investing in some good quality sunscreen after this!

  2. Carla
    June 30, 2012

    That is my favourite picture of you. I might get it framed too.

  3. The Pampered Sparrow
    July 2, 2012

    Ouchie, ouchie OUCH! That said, we’ve all been there ;) “you need some aloe vera on that” ;D xx

  4. Under A Glass Sky
    July 2, 2012

    Oh gosh, you poor thing! It just doesn’t seem fair that you did all the apparently right things and still got burned…. I feel your pain as a fellow pastey. I will definitely take your advice on the products though….. I had once heard that in tests, a cheapo Wilkinsons Factor 30 had come up just as good as a Soltan one, so it does go to show! Hope it feels better soon!

  5. Makeupmonster
    July 2, 2012

    Ah you poor thing, great warning post for us all though!!

  6. caseykurlander
    July 9, 2012

    Ouch! This is a good, helpful article that people should read before going out into the sun. I don’t think a lot of people realize how dangerous the rays are. I just wrote an article explaining the importance and different types of sunscreen/SPF on my blog if you want to check it out:


    • CuriousEmily
      July 9, 2012

      I totally agree Casey; it’s so easy to not notice how powerful the sun’s rays are until you’re burnt to buggery and back. And thanks for the link – it’s good to see the ‘science’ behind it properly explained. :)

  7. Norah Masztal
    February 7, 2013

    Aloe Vera is commonly used to treat sunburn. As well as providing soothing relief, it may also assist in the healing process. Apply to the affected areas as needed. Although the gel extracted directly from an aloe Vera plant works best, if you don’t have ready access to one, you may use an ‘over the counter’ Aloe Vera Cream that contains the gel. For this to be effective, just ensure that the cream contains a high concentration of Aloe Vera than it does water or other solutions.’

    Newest post from our new homepage

  8. My housemate got burnt in Devon of all places some years ago but the best bit was that he had just sprayed the stuff on in patches and then not bothered to rub it in. To summarise he looked like a pink and white leopard.

    • CuriousEmily
      May 21, 2013

      Oh no, at least my tan evened out in the end (except the gruesome tanlines). Devon though! To be fair I got sunstroke in Essex last year, that was total balls.

  9. 時計 ブランド
    August 20, 2013

    スカーゲン 時計

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This entry was posted on June 30, 2012 by in Fashion & Style, Good Advice, Lifestyle, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , .


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