Tag Archives: tourism. bali

Easy ways to stay sun safe (from excuses we always make!) – Metta Murdaya

13 Jun
bad sunburn

This JUARA Girl was bad bad bad! Never do this.

Despite all we know about UV protection and taking care of your skin from the sun’s damaging rays, we all goof up and get burned. I admit, (see pic) that I did. On one vacation a while ago, I got a pretty horrific burn,  so I implore to you – don’t lose to bad judgment like I did, and fall for the (common) excuses people make to procrastinate putting on protection. Have you fallen victim or used any of these excuses? Well don’t. If a picture tells a thousand words, may the photo of me here be that one. Ouch.

“I’m only in the sun for like, 2 hours. No biggie” Wrong. I was only out in the sun for 2 hours too when I got this burn.

“It’s cloudy out.  I don’t need protection, I won’t burn.” Wrong. UV rays still pass through the atmosphere, rain or shine. Plus, burning isn’t the first sign of sun damage, it’s usually the 3-alarm fire point as the damage started much earlier.

“I already got the tan, I won’t burn.” or “My skin is darker, I won’t burn.” But you’re still getting the same amount of damage whether you burn or not! And yes, you still can burn! (Had enough of my ‘you can burn!’ jingle yet?)

“I’ll have another drink on the beach, please…” Sounds like the dream vacation, but be careful with that one – if you get burned, dehydration commonly comes with it. When you drink alcohol, you can become dehydrated and it can exacerbate the sunburn. I was at a wedding the evening before, and was dehydrated the next afternoon when I went to the beach. Plus, I was in the water for almost 2 hours – a double whammy of UV rays + dehydration seriously leaving me open to bake – an added risk for beach swimmers.

So – help yourself protect yourself. Many of us DO apply sunblock – just not enough, nor often enough. So here are some tips to keep you on your sun protection game more easily:

1. Carry a small tube of sunblock in your purse in an often visited pocket so you have no excuse not to apply, or reapply every few hours. Get a higher SPF than you think you need, because chances are, you’re not applying enough so your SPF won’t be as effective for as long as you think it is. (Ie: Too little of the SPF 50 might work more like an SPF 30… Too little SPF 15, and it might not work at all…) My personal favorite sunscreen brand: La Roche Posay. Also, they’re having a “Save our Skin” campaign, raising awareness about sun protection and reducing skin cancer here. Join the cause of SOS from La Roche-Posay, and they will make a donation, and to organizations  like the the Women’s Dermatologic Society (WDS) and The Skin Cancer Foundation, that also educate the public regarding proper sun safe behavior.

2. Wear a hat, or carry one with you when you go in the sun. Too bulky? Check these rollable visors out, poppable in your bag and they’re not cheesy! Not a replacement for sunscreen, but it’s convenient added protection with fashionable benefits.

3. For you product junkies out there, try different sunscreens that you know are good and keep them in often visited locations – and keep sampling! It makes applying sunblock fun, like you’re shopping for your favorite sunscreen! (Did I like the one in the office better, or the one at home? Hmm, need to try again, and again…) I flip between my Garnier, La Roche Posay, and ROC, compare scent, texture, feel, it’s fun.

4. Take the remembering out of reapplying – set daily alarms on your phone/blackberry/iphone for several times a day to remind you to put on sunscreen. You can get creative with your messages, “For eternal youth, reapply sunscreen NOW!” And with that tube in your bag, should be no problem. Or do it via post-it notes in places you visit often before leaving a building (medicine cabinet at home, office computer, work locker, etc.) You can also make fun notes for your friends/family that way too

5. Pass this to a friend – make a pact when with friends to commit to helping each other stay protected! When you reapply that you email/text/call them to remind them to do the same. Don’t you all want to stay youthful looking?

Note: Beachgoers need to reapply more often, especially if you go into the water. And for every colorful alcoholic drink you have, make sure to drink several glasses of water to rehydrate!

Side note: I also get asked “Do you have anything that can help my burn?”  The answer is YES – The Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner is an excellent cooling and hydrating, (oil free!) serum to soothe and calm burns). That was my savior!

Any tips you have to make staying sun-safe fun?


Safe Travels… so you think…? -Metta Murdaya

7 May

Dengue Fever is transmitted through mosquitoes in areas of stagnant, clean pools of water in tropical areas.

You know how you hear of stories of “my friend’s friend went to India/Africa/Asia/ExoticLand and got this crazy mystery illness and [insert bodily harm/damage here]…” And at some point you think, “Well, that’s got to be an exaggeration that won’t happen to me…” till it happens to you – that unrecognizable or unbelievable disease that seemed so last century? Well, that’s what just happened to me – a victim of Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever. What is it? A virus transmitted from an infected mosquito that wreaks total havoc to your system.  Dengue’s bad enough, but this was the doozy kind, the complicated one where you see death rates possibly in the double digits… What I thought was a bad sunburn leading to dizziness and nausea turned out to be a much more serious condition after the Dr. said “Blood Test!” (yes, even JUARA Girl makes sunblock mistakes, knowing all the points from Yoshiko’s entry on sunblock.) What saved my proverbial a**? Catching it on the 2nd day of the fever and being rushed to the hospital to be hooked up to fluids at my mother’s insistence; had I been diagnosed a mere 2 days later, prognosis would have been much, much worse. Let’s just say we might be the JUARA Trio. So – 7 days in the hospital with IV needles up my arms, nausea, rashes, fever, and then some… and then the virus passed. In the process, I was treating a bad sunburn with Tamarind Tea Hydrating Toner (oil-free, cooling hydration) daily. I was a lucky one and got discharged just today. Others who “didn’t do so well,” as my sister-in-law says, aren’t around to tell the tale. So what went wrong though? How the heck did I get it anyway, me, the supposed comfortable bi-global traveler? When your brother’s advice is “Don’t Die,” should I feel like I had overlooked something?

Let’s face it – bad things happen to good people. Or lots of things happen to good people, some of it just bad. Like overzealous UV rays that give sunburns and lower your immune system. Or mosquitoes that give you deadly viruses. Or the occasional typhoid that you get from a dirty cup (oh, that was so 2008…) Sometimes it’s really just a part of life, and so I realize the key is to KEEP YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM STRONG!!! A few interesting tips I am walking away with to be on my preventative well-being list, some mainstream, some more traditional Indonesian…

– Stay hydrated. Drink lots of water and keep your electrolyte levels happy – your system functions better when hydrated. If you are in SE Asia, there are many new ‘electrolyte’ drink but a good standby that’s not a sugar bomb: Pocari Sweat; it’s like local Gatorade (but Japanese inspired.) Also, when buying bottled water, (I only saw this in China though where people were refilling used water bottles and selling as new…) make sure the seal hasn’t been broken and that your bottle of water is really, truly new/unopened.

– Use plenty of sunblock. REAPPLY FREQUENTLY. I made the mistake of going into the beach for only 2 hours with not enough sunblock in a haze of silliness, then played in the water and burned like a mad – since I was so dehydrated from wedding festivities the night before, which REALLY doesn’t help either. Bad sunburns reduce your immune system too and that is no joke. And that makes you more vulnerable to a whole other host of potential illnesses like typhoid, or cholera, or even good ol’ Montezuma’s revenge… (traveler’s diarrhea.)

– Drink red guava juice, the fleshy kind with the million seeds: Keeps your blood healthy, it’s more a traditional remedy but I’ve never drunk so much in the last 6 days, and it did help… It helped maintain energy levels from draining. On that note, eat a ton of fruit. The tropics has PLENTY of variety to keep you delightfully satiated. (Bird’s nest + ginseng is another price concoction but works wonders too.)

– Get enough sleep. Nuff said. The problem with a compromised immune system is that you don’t know it until something hits you that normally shouldn’t or wouldn’t – and when you’re traveling, there’s always so much excitement that sometimes our adrenaline keeps us going longer than it should, and with jet lag for many, the first few days are filled with a haze of odd sleep hours.

– Wear mosquito repellent if you think there are ANY mosquitoes around. Malaria is prevalent in areas where the water is dirty, and Dengue lies where the water is clean. (Stagnant pools of water like little ponds after a rain, or an unmaintained swimming pool…) So you’re screwed wherever you are in tropical zone, really. You can give people Dengue by being sick and around mosquitoes that might bite your infected self, then transmit to your pal or child nearby… This wasn’t so much an issue in the past but lately, if you’re traveling to tropical areas, the infection count has hit near epidemic proportions so it’s worth the precaution…

So, stick with those basics when traveling in tropical land (or at least Indonesia) and you’ll probably be OK. The slightest sign of what might even be a cold, check it out – because it just might be not your common cold in ye lively parts! Good luck and happy travels!

haemorrhagic fever

haemorrhagic fever

JAMU – JUARA’s Inspiration: #1 Intro

23 Feb

Hi, here’s a little less about JUARA and more about JAMU, the Indonesian herbal tradition from where JUARA was inspired. This will be the start of a series of videos covering a smattering of JAMU related topics – hope you enjoy a little history lesson in yummy little tidbits. Watch out, there’ll be a quiz at the end! Just kidding… Of course, if you do want to dig in deeper, there are more formal books and research materials from which I learned the information, so I’ll be more than happy to refer those to you too, but in the meantime, here’s to episode 1!