This is a guest post from Wenxin Ye

As a diver, you know the world under water is completely different from anything you’ll experience on land. Scuba diving allows you to move freely in a realm without gravity, becoming part of the marine world as you explore all it has to offer. It’s an experience that awakens your mind and boosts your soul.

Though scuba diving is an experience unlike any other, it isn’t without its challenges. Not only do you have to learn how to deal with all of the equipment, but you also have to handle the effects on your body – particularly your skin and hair. Sun exposure, saltwater, and hours strapped into neoprene take a toll. Read on to learn how to protect your skin as a diver.

1. Apply Sunscreen Before You Dive

Even on a cloudy day, the UV rays from the sun can damage your skin if you leave it unprotected. On a sunny day, the water reflects UV rays by as much as 30%, so it’s never a good idea to skip the sunscreen. Layer up with broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher about 30 minutes before you get on the boat. Wearing a wet suit will protect the rest of your body but wear sunscreen on your face and neck. If you don’t plan to wear gloves, it’s a good idea to put some on your hands as well.


2. Protect Your Hair from Damage

Pulling your mask on and off all day can be rough on your hair, so tie it back in a braid or ponytail to keep it from getting caught. Wearing a hood or placing a neoprene band over the strap of your mask may help as well. If you prefer not to cover your head, consider coating your hair with coconut oil as an added layer of protection against the dryness and tangles caused by saltwater. Soaking your hair in fresh water before exposing it to seawater may also keep it from absorbing too much salt.


3. Take Advantage of Breaks on the Boat

When you hop back onto the boat to swap out your oxygen tank or rest your tired muscles, take advantage of the time to reapply sunscreen. Spend a few minutes resting in the shade and give your skin a quick rinse with fresh water to keep it from absorbing too much salt. Apply lip balm to chapped lips and put on another layer of sunscreen before you suit back up. Don’t forget to hydrate as well!

between scuba dives


4. Take a Good Shower After

Once you’re back on dry land, get in a good shower and take your time to make sure you rinse all of the saltwater out of your hair. Use some in-shower lotion for an added layer of hydration and use a conditioning hair mask twice a week or so to keep your hair healthy. When choosing hair care products, look for natural ingredients that won’t add to the stress caused by all the sun and saltwater. Use a wide-toothed comb to gently work through tangles and let your hair air-dry if you have time. It’s already taken a beating from the sun and salt, so don’t add the stress of high heat if you can avoid it.


5. Hydrate and Repair Your Skin

When your skin is clean and dry after your shower, it’s the perfect time to put on a few products to hydrate and repair. Apply lip balm or a collagen cream to soothe and moisturize chapped lips as well as a hydrating facial mask to restore your skin’s natural moisture barrier. If you only have a few minutes to spare, spray on some alcohol-free toner to help your skin absorb moisture than apply your regular serum, anti-aging cream, and daily moisturizer. If you’re heading back outside, don’t forget to apply sunscreen again – SPF 15 is all you need unless you’re planning to spend a lot of time in the sun.

On a bright sunny day, you want nothing more than to throw on your gear and hop overboard without a thought for what it might do to your hair and skin. All of the sun and salt in the world won’t keep you from diving, but you shouldn’t ignore the effects they have on your body. Follow these tips to keep your skin and hair healthy even as you continue to do what you love most.