Few experiences compare to scuba diving. There’s something exhilarating about throwing on an oxygen mask and diving into the depths of the sea to explore. While scuba diving is a thrilling adventure for your mind and body, it can be damaging on your hair and skin. All that saltwater and sun exposure can leave your hair flat and dehydrated, your skin dull and dry.
Fortunately, the right skin protection and some simple hair tricks can keep you looking and feeling your best before, during, and after every dive. Follow these simple tips for protecting your hair and skin as a scuba diver.
Prep Your Hair and Skin Before You Dive
Though you’ll be spending most of your time underwater, you still need to protect your skin. Apply broad-spectrum sunscreen SPF 30 or higher to all areas of exposed skin including your face, neck, and hands. It’s best to apply it about 30 minutes before you jump in the boat. It doesn’t hurt to throw on a hat as well to shade your face. If you don’t plan to put on your suit until you reach your diving location, cover up to protect your skin from UV rays.
To protect your hair, rinse or soak it in fresh water before you dive – this will keep it from absorbing too much salt. For an added layer of protection, work some coconut oil through your hair then pull it back into a braid or ponytail. You may also want to wear a hood or put a neoprene strap over the band of your mask to keep it from pulling on your hair.
Use Your Diving Breaks Wisely
Time flies when you’re in the water but even the most experience scuba divers need to take breaks. Whether you need to swap out your oxygen tank or adjust your suit, you’ll spend at least a few minutes on the boat before heading back down. This makes it the perfect time to do a little hair and skin work.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to do between dives:
- Rinse off with fresh water to keep the salt from drying on your skin
- Reapply sunscreen to all areas of exposed skin
- Apply lip balm with SPF to chapped lips, as needed
- Drink a bottle of water – even if you don’t feel thirsty, the hydration is good for you
Though it may be tempting to rush through this checklist and hop back in, it’s important to give your body time to rest. Spend a few minutes relaxing in the shade while you prep your gear to give your skin a break and the sunscreen time to soak in.
Tips for Washing Up After a Dive
After you’ve taken care of your gear it’s time to take care of yourself. Give your skin and hair a quick freshwater rinse once you’re back on the boat and reapply sunscreen and lip balm. When you’re back on land, you can take a good shower and do a little work on skin repair.
Clarifying shampoo or a good scalp scrub will take care of the coconut oil in your hair and in-shower lotion will give your skin a boost of hydration. Out of the shower, apply aloe vera for sun burn and throw on your preferred moisturizer and anti-aging skin products. If your skin is particularly dry, try a hydrating mask.
Salt and sun are rough on your hair and skin but they’re just part of the equation when you’re a diver. With these simple tips, you can keep the effects of saltwater and sun damage from ruining your hair, your skin, and your scuba-diving fun.