Sun, Heat and Skin Ailments


Many people who first come here don't think enough about the changes in sun exposure that they are exposing their bodies to. In the tropics, the sun is nearly straight overhead and harder on the skin than in most farang countries. Fair skinned people did not evolve here. Further, if you're vacationing on the beach when you first arrive, this could be a real shock for your body.

The effects of the sun are sunburn, skin cancer, premature wrinkles & aging, and immediate term fatigue due to the damage the sun inflicts on your skin and the body's need of energy to deal with the repairs. Your immune system can be significantly tired by the effects of the sun and make you more vulnerable to other things.

Wear sunscreen with a rating of 30 or better (which you can easily find in grocery stores and drug stores here), a hat, and of course at least a t-shirt even if you get it wet. Be especially careful between 10:00am and 2:00pm, and maybe stretch that window another hour on each side. Remember that the clouds block visible light but the damaging ultraviolet light still gets thru.

The sun is not a significant concern if you take reasonable precautions. One of the nice things about Thailand is that almost every day is a sunny day. Even during the rainy season, the days are usually sunny and the downpours usually happen only in the evening.


Dehydration is something you want to prevent, not wait until you have to treat it.

When you move from a cool climate to a hot one, you should learn a new habit -- drink water often.

Bottle water is sold everywhere. Drink it, sipping often.

The mild signs of dehydration are general tiredness, and the victim often doesn't realize that their problem is simply water. Maybe you think you're having a bad day, or working too hard, or lacking motivation. Drink a bottle of water and see if that makes a difference. You may be surprised. Sip on water often during the day.

Few people take salt here, and tablets are usually unnecessary, though you may want to salt your food a little.

Heat Rash, Fungus and Bacteria

Another habit you should start here is bathing often. Prevention is much easier than cure.

Fungus grows in warm, moist (i.e., sweaty) locations. So does bacteria.

Cotton underwear is essential. After showering, let the skin dry. Use a fan if in a hurry.

You'll probably notice that "prickly heat" powder is fairly popular in Thailand, particularly among children.

Most ex-pats who live here don't have any of these problems, with the only precaution being to bathe regularly and more often than in their own native country.

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