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Lollapalooza — Tips on staying cool, hydrated and avoiding sunburn

Wearing sunblock is a key line of defense against sunburn at outdoor festivals such as Lollapalooza. | stock.adobe.com

Wearing sunblock is a key line of defense against sunburn at outdoor music festivals. | stock.adobe.com

Your Lollapalooza partying this year can be totally fab, since you can stay cool, hydrated and sunburn-free while still wearing glitter and your so-dope floppy hat.

The key is to prepare well, experts say.

For glitter queens and kings, you can cover your SPF 50 suntan lotion with Sea Star Sparkle Rainbow Glitter sunscreen.

And for girls worried about the tell-tale ghostly glow that’s caused by sunscreen with zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, you can mix in makeup foundation and create a tinted sunscreen right on the spot, says Loyola Medicine dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Tung. Tung’s 18-year-old daughter, Eleanor, a veteran of two Lollapaloozas, has used Color Science’s Sunforgettable and bareMinerals’ powder sunscreen to do the trick.

Another tip: Wear sun-protective lip balm such as Lip CoTZ lip balm. You can put lipstick over top.

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The point: Wear sunscreen that provides broad-spectrum protection, and take it with you to re-apply every few hours. If you forget, there’s a Lolla store on-site.

If you’re prone to acne, choose an oil-free gel sunscreen. Beware if you’re taking Doxycycline for acne or skin infections; it can increase your risk of getting a sunburn, said Dr. Caroline Robinson, dermatologist at Northwestern Medicine.

Festival goers can further protect themselves from a painful sunburn – especially to vulnerable ears, scalp and eyelids — by wearing sunglasses and a floppy, wide-brimmed or safari hat.

Loyola Medicine dermatologist Dr. Rebecca Tung (left) and her daughter, Eleanor (a Lollapalooza goer), sport some fashionable — and functional — head gear and sunscreen, two key items to help protect you from damaging sun rays. | PROVIDED PHOTO

“No hat is not a good idea, even if you have a full head of hair. That’s 25 percent of your exposed skin right there,” said Dr. Samuel Grief, associate professor of clinical family medicine at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “I recommend people buy safari hats that you can get at Uncle Dan’s on Southport (3551 N. Southport).”

So while you’re having fun getting ready to party with Bruno Mars and The Weeknd, be prepared for the daylong rays (even if it’s overcast or hazy), so you don’t have to bail out from sunburn, heat exhaustion or worse. Experts advise:

• Wear loose, light-colored clothing. It reflects the sun’s rays better than dark clothing. Or better yet, wear clothes with a UV protective factor.
• Drink plenty of water or hydrating fluids – sorry, no beer, coffee or tea – starting the day before Lollapalooza. At the event, drink hydrating fluids when you’re thirsty.

As Northwestern Medicine’s Dr. Christopher Hogrefe put it, “A recipe to set yourself up for dehydration is to have three Red Bulls and sit out in the sun.”

Dr. Grief of UIC says, go ahead and have a Mike’s Hard Lemonade or a Summer Shandy, but only if you’ve done your due diligence by drinking water.

• Avoid getting what’s known as Mexican Beer dermatitis by avoiding certain fruits such as limes (often served with Mexican beer), celery, figs and parsnip that can create a skin rash. Ingredients in those fruits and parsnip can cause the skin to break out when it’s exposed to the sun, said Robinson.
• Beware of adulterated pot. Doctors are still seeing people come into the emergency room having taken synthetic marijuana laced with rat poison, said Dr. Jenny Lu, a toxicologist and emergency room attending physician at Stroger Hospital.
• Get personal safety details at http://www.lollapalooza.com/safety. Scope out the festivals’ six medical tents and a variety of cooling stations so you can get to them quickly. The cooling stations feature large misting fans and dry fans. Medical tents are staffed by professionals ranging from doctors to EMTs, as well as nurses, paramedics and physicians’ assistants.
• Be aware of the Lollapalooza safety team — staffers who roam the grounds looking for fans who might be in distress, aid in finding patients, and facilitating medic teams.
• Take occasional breaks and refill your water bottle for free at five CamelBak hydration stations spread throughout the event space.
• Catch some shade in cooling buses – CTA buses parked at Balbo Drive and Jackson Boulevard.
• Know the signs of dehydration and heat stroke. Hint: You can suffer heat stroke on a day when the temperatures are in the 70s. In the first stage – heat illness – you may feel warm and sweat more than normal. The next stage – heat exhaustion – is when your body temperature may start to rise, you may feel dizzy, experience a racing heart, blurry vision and in some cases, shortness of breath. Finally, if your core body temperature gets significantly elevated, you may lose awareness and pass out, doctors warn.

Dr. Caroline Robinson, a board certified dermatologist recommends sun screen and hats to help protect you from the sun's harmful rays. If you’re prone to acne, choose an oil-free gel sunscreen. Beware if you’re taking Doxycycline for acne or skin infections; it can increase your risk of getting a sunburn| Photo courtesy Caroline Robinson

Dr. Caroline Robinson, a board certified dermatologist recommends sun screen and hats to help protect you from the sun’s harmful rays. If you’re prone to acne, choose an oil-free gel sunscreen. Beware if you’re taking Doxycycline for acne or skin infections; it can increase your risk of getting a sunburn| Photo courtesy Caroline Robinson

“The mechanisms that lower your core temperature can become impaired when you’re intoxicated,” said Dr. James Winger, a sports medicine physician, an expert on hydration and an associate professor of family medicine at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine.

Winger said he treated a few cases of heat stroke when he served as medical director of a 10-mile race on a humid, 78-degree day.

“You can have heat stroke on a mild day or a cloudy day,” he said.

In case you need to call 9-1-1, light poles around Grant Park will have pole markers attached, so you can help emergency responders find you quickly. If you have allergies, make sure you’re wearing an allergy bracelet and have a list of your allergies and medications in case of a medical emergency.